7 iconic clothes that set women free

7 Vetements Iconiques

A priori, one cannot imagine a man perched on Louboutins with a push-up and in panties . Who would have believed it? Ces symboles de femininity miss, is the pun on cost Sandy century, sortent tout droit du ... Cloak des mâles dominants.

With Paris Figures de Mode , Soline Anthore-Baptiste , fashion historian, reveals the origins and anecdotes of outfits and clothes that have become iconic today.

Monsieur's heels

Les Stilettos à semelles rouges  de Christian Louboutin

Big news: Louboutin has (almost) not invented anything. The red heels, symbols of wealth, were very popular among men in the eighteenth and were all the rage at the court of Versailles meaning when you wore that was formally a courtier. As proof: paintings of Louis XIV dressed in his most beautiful red heeled shoes !

Disappeared from the fashion sphere since the abolition of the absolute monarchy, it was Christian Louboutin who brought them up to date thanks to his very famous red-soled stilettos, very popular with power girls this time. As evidenced by Victoria Beckham, Rachida Dati when she was minister or Kate Moss. Now “ followers ”, men like Jean-François Trap, Edouard Baer and Kanye West once again sport red-soled oxfords, but this time flat ... The circle is complete.

Jean Paul Gaultier's striped shirt

Blouse à col bateau, la marinière symbole gay de Jean Paul Gaultier

© TopFoto / Roger-Viollet

Originally for children, this ultra comfortable blouse with a boat neck became the official sailor costume in 1858 : an indigo blue and white knit.

It was in 1916 that Coco Chanel feminized this striped garment and brought it into the world of fashion by creating an event. Later, in 1976, Jean Paul Gaultier inaugurated, during his very first fashion show, the one that would become his centerpiece: the striped sweater . By dressing men as women, with a cut close to the body, the couturier is shaking up the codes and erecting it as a gay symbol and emblem of homosexual liberation . The metrosexual wave will eventually endorse this garment as a new basic for Generation Y, just like jeans or perfecto .

The dandy style

Portrait du dandy British qui a inspiré Jean Rochefort, David Bowie et Michael Douglas

Jean Rochefort, David Bowie or Michael Douglas were more than inspired by it. Born in the 18th century in the United Kingdom, the British dandy , dressed in his finest tuxedo, does not hesitate to dress in furs and put on the most beautiful feminine finery , always sexy, chic and elegant without ever being “ disguised ” . In a form of rebellion against aristocracy and privilege, he advocates talent over money.

Inspired by Lord Byron , a dandy of the 1800s, Baudelaire brought the phenomenon to France in his collection Le Peintre de la vie moderne. From Dior to Yves Saint Laurent , the greatest couturiers do not fail to revisit it, both male and female. The result is a woman of neo-dandyism as virile as feminine, who rebels against an overly patriarchal society , today embodied for example by the Parisian designer Diane Ducasse .

The push-up for men

Le Push-up avec la silhouette taillée en V de Tex Avery

© Gérard Blot / RMN-GP

Women do not have the monopoly of push-ups and designs that caricature their hourglass figure . Men too have been followers of the rounded torso since the 19th century.

Like Tex Avery's bulldog , at the time, the waist was ultra-fitted, the torso hyper raised and inflated, the hips redesigned and the shoulders squared, thanks to the padding of the vest: the silhouette cut in a V- shaped bodybuilding style was born !

Men sculpt their body as much as women and this is not without questioning the definitions of virility and femininity , which are still relevant today.

The queen's shirt

Portrait en Peinture de la reine Marie-Antoinette representé en chemise d'Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun

It was in 1783 that Élisabeth Vigée-Lebrun caused a scandal with her painting of Queen Marie-Antoinette (exhibited at the Schlossmuseum in Germany) . The object of the scandal? The queen is represented in a shirt . Far from the conventions of the time and in the light of the revolution, this garment desecrates her role as queen and makes her (too) accessible to the people. Although everyone is indignant, a new fashion is initiated: that of more sober clothes and closer to the body. No more sophisticated dresses!

Under the sign of the liberation of the female body perceived in its intimacy and its simplicity, Yves Saint Laurent , Dior and Chanel did not hesitate to revisit this chic and relaxed piece , essential of the Parisian “ less is more ” and stylish .

Zazous fashion

La mode des zazous ou petits swings des années 1940

© Albert Harlingue / Roger-Viollet

Provocation is their motto. The zazous are the rebels and feminists in the making, men and women of the 1940s, also called the “ little swings ” for their love of jazz . Their nonconformism will have inherited a reputation of arrogant and dangerous youth singled out by the Vichy government . In short, to be Zazou is to assert oneself against a system and to claim it as much by its attitude as by its clothes!

How to recognize a Parisian zazou? A skirt above the knee, shoes Wedge, extravagant makeup and hairstyle party girl XXL volume.

The feminine pants

Les feministes Madeleine Pelletier et Marie-Rose Astié de Valsayre

© Keystone-France/Gamma-Rapho

It has become the symbol of the mainstream look . Except in certain religious circles, the wearing of pants is no longer a subject ... It would even be associated with a form of sobriety. And yet.

French women have officially had the right to wear pants since ... 2013. The law prohibiting " the cross-dressing of women ", which dated from 1800, was officially repealed only 6 years ago. This fight for sartorial equality, we owe it to feminists like Madeleine Pelletier and Marie-Rose Astié de Valsayre , among the first to fight for women's rights.

It was at the beginning of the 20th century that, for the first time in France , when women took over the work of men during the 1914 war , trousers were no longer an exclusively male item.

Paris, Figures de Mode , Soline Anthore Baptiste, Parigramme, € 16.90.

Le livre Figures De mode Paris Ce que disent nos vêtements

Also discover which iconic couple you are and the unpublished novel by Françoise Sagan.

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