Le Smoking

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Examples of Le Smoking in a De Young Museum exhibit.

Created in 1966 by couturier Yves Saint Laurent,[1] the Le Smoking tuxedo suit for women was the first of its kind to earn attention in the fashion world and in popular culture. The tuxedo suit was designed for women. The inspiration for the suit was the androgynous personal style of Saint Laurent model and muse Danielle Luquet de Saint Germain.[2][3] The designer took bits and pieces from both men's suits and women's clothing, and combined it with new ideas. As the tuxedo was designed for females, it was different from the normal male tuxedo. The collar was more feminine, as the shape and curve were more subtle. The waistline of the blouse was narrowed to show the body shape, and the pants were adjusted to help elongate the leg.

It pioneered long, minimalist, androgynous styles for women, as well as the use of power suits and the pantsuit in modern-day society. Fashion photography echoes the influence of this suit in shoots that feature androgynous models with slicked-back hair in a "masculine" three-piece suit, a style that was first popularised in photographs by Helmut Newton.[1][4] It was notably modelled by singer Françoise Hardy,[5] who was a muse to the designer.[6] Saint Laurent was seen by many as having empowered women by giving them the option to wear clothes that were normally worn by men with influence and power.[4][7]

This suit has continued to influence fashion designers' collections through the 2000s.[7][8]

In French and many other languages, the pseudo-anglicism smoking refers to tuxedo/black tie clothing. It is a false friend deriving from the Victorian fashion of the smoking jacket.


  1. ^ a b Alexander, Hilary. "Smoke Without Fire." The Telegraph (Dec. 12, 2005).
  2. ^ Szmydke, Paulina (1 May 2013). "Danielle Luquet de Saint Germain to Auction Couture Collection". Women's Wear Daily. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  3. ^ "Yves Saint Laurent muse auctioning off massive wardrobe in Paris". New York Daily News. 14 October 2013. Retrieved 1 November 2021.
  4. ^ a b Menkes, Suzy. "A toast to Yves for 'le smoking.'" The International Tribune (Oct. 10, 2005). Archived February 19, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Darcella, Aria (January 17, 2018). "The Enduring Style of Françoise Hardy and the Yé-Yé Girls". CR Fashion Book. Hearst Communications. Retrieved May 15, 2021.
  6. ^ "Françoise Hardy – Biography". Radio France Internationale. March 2013. Archived from the original on April 30, 2018. Retrieved 27 October 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Paris honours the Tuxedo, Yves St. Laurent's fashion favourite." Agence France-Presse (Oct. 3, 2005). Archived December 21, 2005, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Le Smoking". Dazed Digital. Archived from the original on February 7, 2009.