Designer: Elsa Schiaparelli (Italian, 1890–1973)

Date: winter 1939–40

Culture: French

Medium: wool, leather

Credit Line: Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Arturo and Paul Peralta-Ramos, 1955

Accession Number: 2009.300.1870a, b


Schiaparelli paired one of her signature structured jackets with man-tailored cuffed pants for this only slightly feminized version of a man's tweed suit. Although in the 1930s they were accepted attire as separates for casual and sports-related activities, pants and especially pantsuits, as an expression of fashion were uncommon - only for the most unconventional couturier and style-confident client. From the 1940s onward, with the onset of war and prominence of pants-wearing film stars such as Katherine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich, pants for women increasingly gained acceptance. Yet it was not until the 1970s that pantsuits, which were introduced by couturiers Yves Saint Laurent and André Courrèges in the mid-1960s, and, by association, stylish pants, became mainstream fashion.