Style classics: The smoking jacket
07:00 GMT, 30 August 2012
In 1968, Nan Kempner walked into a Manhattan restaurant wearing her Yves Saint Laurent suit, only to be told by the maitre d’ she couldn’t dine in trousers.
The New York socialite promptly dropped said trousers and took her table wearing only her Le Smoking as an ultra-short mini dress.
Yves Saint Laurent’s most enduring creation, a man’s dinner jacket re-cut for a woman’s body (left), was introduced in 1966.
From catwalk to red carpet: Alexa Chung knows how to work the smoking jacket trend to perfection
It was teamed with a ruffled white shirt, black bow at the neck and satin cummerbund. To a fashion world in thrall to Fifties feminine frocks, Le Smoking’s clean, masculine lines were revolutionary.
The couture mavens didn’t instantly take to the design — it was only a month later, when Saint Laurent released a version on his Rive Gauche ready-to-wear line, that they started selling.
The designer continued to reinvent the jacket until 1992. Bianca Jagger married Mick in St Tropez in a white version; Catherine Deneuve wore hers with nothing underneath.
For style icons Kate Moss and Alexa Chung (right), the jacket is worn with everything from skinny jeans to slinky maxi-skirts. Saint Laurent explained its appeal best: ‘Fashions come and go, but style is for ever.’