Le Smoking: The First Tuxedo for Women

By  - 8 years ago

“Chanel freed women, and I empowered them.” — Yves Saint Laurent

Today, we have boyfriend jeans and muscle tees, but back in the days of the conservative and the restrained, menswear-inspired clothing for women were deemed inappropriate— Yves Saint Laurent, however, thought otherwise.

In 1966, he created the first tuxedo for women and named it Le Smoking (French for “the smoking jacket”). In its first release during Saint Laurent’s 1966 fall couture collection in Paris, it received criticism from the public who were offended with the thought of women wearing trousers.


Yves Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking

Get this—some places even banned women in suits. New York socialite Nan Kempner was once denied entrance to a restaurant while wearing her YSL Le Smoking. So she took her trousers off, and went inside wearing the jacket as a dress instead (you go, girl).


Yves Saint Laurent and Nan Kempner


Bianca Jagger in a YSL Le Smoking on her wedding day, 1971


Cara Delevingne in a tuxedo

Today, women can wear whatever they want, whenever they want. Le Smoking wasn’t just a suit. It was a revolution; and as for the spirit of androgynous dressing, thanks, YSL. We owe you.