Fashion… Always Classic… Always New! The Tuxedo and Le Smoking
FASHION TREND REPORT EXCLUSIVELY FOR RANDOLPH STREET MARKET BY NENA IVON, nenasnotes
“For a woman, Le Smoking is an indispensable garment with which she finds continually in fashion because it is about style, not fashion. Fashion comes and goes, but style is forever.” – Yves Saint Laurent
It is my feeling, that nothing is sexier than a woman in a tuxedo! Men always complain that they don’t want to put on their tuxedos I don’t know why they all look handsome in them! Perhaps now that the pandemic, is hopefully, losing its gripe on our lives we will see the return of dressing up for our evenings on the town.
Let’s take a trip back in time and see where the tuxedo began and actually what we think of as very modern, androgyny, appeared.
The Tuxedo Club in Tuxedo Park, New York where, supposedly at the first annual Autumn Ball in 1886, the first tuxedos in America were seen. Several men wearing them had visited England, impressed by the Prince of Wales, they also ordered the new style jacket from Henry Poole & Co. The garment actually dates back to 1865 Edward VII, then the Prince of Wales, wanted a more comfortable jacket instead of the very formal tails.
The Prince of Wales
“1865, the Prince of Wales and future King Edward VII (known to his family and friends as Bertie) asked his tailor and friend Henry Poole to cut a short coat he could wear at informal dinners at Sandringham. Henry Poole accordingly shortened the traditional tailcoat and presented the evening jacket to the Prince of Wales in celestial blue. There is no earlier reference to any similar garment in either the historic Henry Poole & Co. ledgers dating back to 1846, or in the surviving ledgers of any other tailor or period illustration. So the British dinner jacket or DJ was born.” Taken from the Henry Poole & Co. website. The company, which was founded in 1806 , Is still in business today.
The first documented woman wearing men’s evening attire was the stage actress/singer, Vesta Tilley, the highest paid woman in Britain in the late Victorian era, she played many characters but her most famous roles had her dressed in men’s formal wear…you might enjoy this clip.
Let’s look at some tuxedos on women and men through the years…
Josephine Baker, American entertainer, a phenomenal hit in France pictured in the Mid-1920’s. There is a brand new biography about her amazing life, Agent Josephine, it is quite a story…there are several books on her check out the books at Randolph Street Market to find old volumes on so many topics.
Marlene Dietrich, basically the woman who started it all, in the 1930 film “Morocco”, again many books on her…keep your eyes open.
Madonna’s interpretation of Dietrich.
Fred Astaire’s major influence….always in top hat, white tie and tails or a tuxedo in every movie he appeared in….next to him a current runway shot of a men’s tux note the brooches another trend, jewelry on men, to consider.
The Duke of Windsor, we all recognize, considered one of the best dresses men ever!!!
Two of the most glamourous movie stars ever, showing us how to wear a tuxedo….Clark Gable and Cary Grant.
The one and only Judy Garland!
First YSL tuxedo, Le Smoking 1966
In his Autumn-Winter 1966 collection, Yves Saint Laurent introduced his most iconic piece: the tuxedo, Le Smoking. Why Le Smoking, Because the original men’s tuxedo was meant to be worn in a smoking room after a formal dinner to protect the clothing from the smell of cigars, Saint Laurent’s tuxedo was, of course, fashioned for the female body.
Saint Laurent’s tuxedo seemed to be ahead of its time and was initially not popular with his haute couture clients. The Saint Laurent rive gauche version was, however, a success with its younger client. Le Smoking was included in each of his collections until his retirement in 2002. His last show’s finale was a parade of Le Smoking. It is still included in each Saint Laurent Collection.
Yves Saint Laurent with Catherine Deneuve a very close friend and client
With his muse, Betty Cartoux…he called her his “twin”.
1975 Helmut Newton’s famous photograph for Vogue
2002 Yves Saint Last Fashion Show finale
Julie Andrews in the 1982 film “Victor, Victoria” in white tie and tails
And for modern times….some suggestions on how to style your tuxedo….
And just for fun from Viktor&Rolf…..
Ralph and Ricky Lauren then…..
Ralph, doing a tux his way! Love this look
And then we have Billy Porter…..doing it HIS way….what could be more modern!
And back to YSL and Le Smoking….what tuxedo treasure shall you find at the Randolph Street Market….the possibilities are endless as well as timeless! Find a fabulous vintage tuxedo jacket, have it tailored to your form and enjoy it….remember the best way to achieve sustainability in clothing is to recycle, update and feel good that you are helping the planet! What is the best place to achieve this….Randolph Street Market, of course!
All photos found on Pinterest, photo credits unknown unless other wise mentioned.
by Nena Ivon