Some of you might remember this. In the late 60s, the maitre d’ of the top-tier New York restaurant refused to seat a woman, the best of the best-dressed, turned out in the dernier cri from Paris: Monsieur St. Laurent’s le smoking. Unfazed, the woman left the trousers at the coat check and proceeded to her table. In just the jacket.
Times, however, were a-changing. And fast. In 1972, the passage of the Title IX of the Education Amendments forced public education to treat males and females equally. Girls could no longer be required to wear dresses. And that was it for dress codes.
In New York, the trousers and trouser suits shown by American designers, Calvin Klein and Halston, among them, were being worn in the halls of commerce, Page 6 restaurants and just about anywhere women felt like it. In Paris, women were scooping up Sonia Rykiel’s soft wool pants and narrow little sweaters …and YSL’s aforementioned le smoking that, re-imagined in so many permutations, was to become a staple in the evening wardrobes of women everywhere.