HISTORY OF THE JUMPSUIT
The jumpsuit has gone from ‘80s wardrobe outcast to firm fashion favourite. We chart the rise of the ultimate outfit-in-one…
A SUIT FOR JUMPING
A Florentine artist and designer who went by the name of Thayat created the first ever jumpsuit in 1919 as a practical piece of clothing worn by parachuters and sky divers – quite literally a suit for jumping! – as well as race car drivers and aviators. The design may have been simple, but the jumpsuit proved revolutionary and liberating. Pilot Charles Lindbergh completed the world’s first solo transatlantic flight wearing one and Neil Armstrong landed on the moon in his.
It was Elsa Schiaparelli who put the jumpsuit on the fashion map in the ’30s. The revolutionary designer and rival to Coco Chanel shook up the Paris couture scene with her innovative and daring designs. She even created an easy-on, easy-off air-raid suit, complete with matching gas mask, velvet turban and flask. And they say fashion can’t be practical.
FILMSTARS AND FACTORY WORKERS
Katharine Hepburn gave the jumpsuit a touch of Hollywood glamour when she wore a monogrammed silk one-piece in the 1937 film Stage Door. Five years later Vera Maxwell, a pioneer of American sportswear, designed a jumpsuit worn by millions of ‘riveting Rosies’ (the nickname given to American women working in factories during World War II). The ‘You Can Do It!’ posters of Rosie the Riveter in her one-piece and polka dot headband have become an iconic cultural reference and symbol of empowered women.
FROM CATWALK TO DANCEFLOOR
The jumpsuit hit the catwalks again in the 60s when André Courrèges showed futuristic styles in Paris. YSL sent palazzo one-pieces down the runway in the ’70s; Cher, Abba and Elvis adopted the jumpsuit as their signature style, and it became the go-to look for Studio 54 regulars Diana Ross, Liza Minelli and Bianca Jagger, who danced to disco in Halston’s trademark designs.
Plenty of pop icons have performed in a jumpsuit – think Madonna circa Papa Don’t Preach, Britney Spears clad in a red PVC all-in-one in the Oops! I Did It Again video and Mel B rocking her beloved skin-tight leopard one-pieces back in the Spice Girls days.
After a hiatus where it was deemed rather naff, in the ’00s the jumpsuit really began to be taken seriously as a fashion item. Soon, it was infiltrating the red carpet as a cool alternative to the usual dresses, and we considered it a must-have. It’s not hard to see why; jumpsuits are the ultimate outfit-in-one. We like to think they nail the perfect mix of ease, comfort, attitude and sass, which is why we’ve created flattering designs. Trust us, you’ll wonder how you lived without one…
GET YOUR JUMPSUIT
As far as we’re concerned, nothing is easier to wear than the jumpsuit, especially in figure-flattering black. Nipped in waists define your silhouette while stud trims and keyhole sleeves all add a directional twist.