THE ICONIC JUMPSUIT

Some fashion trends come and go, very few have staying power.  However, the jumpsuit has adapted and evolved over the years and is now an iconic piece of clothing.

THE HISTORY OF THE JUMPSUIT
THE HISTORY OF THE JUMPSUIT

From its first appearance back in 1919, the jumpsuit was always destined to become a fashion icon. A symbol of female heroism and adventure, it naturally found its way from the professional aviators, racing drivers and sports women, to the catwalks of Paris, all under the influential and creative eye of Coco Chanel.

The effortlessly chic ‘lounging pyjama’ gave women a new fashion vocabulary for yachting, beachwear and leisure pursuits and appealed to the more daring, fashion forward ladies with a little money to spend.

But it wasn’t until Hollywood’s leading women, such as Ann Southern (see left), started to wear the jumpsuit on screen that the trend really took off. Sassy, head strong movie stars were the new role models that showed young woman how to dress in an effortless, edgy and sophisticated way. It was dressing for women, by women.

Shifting attitudes, sweeping social change and an energised optimistic outlook marked the return to elegant casual wear, palazzo’s and eventually flares that symbolised the 50s and 60s. It was this last decade, the birth of the modern age, where the jumpsuit became the symbol of pop culture.

THE HISTORY OF THE JUMPSUIT

The 1940s saw a practical shift as women were drafted into factory work during WWII. Overalls or ‘coveralls’ as they were then called, were redesigned to fit the female form using denim or cotton twill, and featured more protection, long or short sleeves, fitted waists and large pockets for tools. These ‘rosies’ were so practical that they became the daily staple for women at work or at home.

THE HISTORY OF THE JUMPSUIT

Designers like Elsa Schiaparelli (see stripy jumpsuit above) sealed her fashion status by incorporating the jumpsuit into her avant-garde collections, and music icons such as Elvis Presley and David Bowie created jumpsuit folklore with their infamous stage creations. The louche, bohemian flavour of the 70s took it one step further with spangly jersey, Studio 54 style, and glam, skin tight disco fever. From Mick Jagger to Debbie Harry, the jumpsuit shouted style, attitude and stage presence.

And now. Well jumpsuits are iconic silhouettes. They are cool, chic and yet timeless. They embrace the adventurous spirit of those early pioneers with a rock chick attitude and easy confidence. They are Ali McGraw and Coco Chanel, Bianca Jagger and Celia Birtwell rolled into one. And who wouldn’t want to be that?