No need to dream of Haute Couture and ostentatious bling-bling, when true luxury is nestled in a perfect cut, executed with rigor and passion, elegance without contingency, the one that goes so well with the ability to amaze without out of place, the worship of the little word that does good, candor and sharing when we open our gifts as much as we open our hearts. In short, for all these reasons the outfit in our party collection will not be an ephemeral dress full of complications and false pretenses, but will be a timeless outfit: The tuxedo .
It was created in 1860 in the workshops of Henry Poole & Co. tailor to the gentry.
As immutable as royalty and the English lawn, the workshop is still active at 15 Savile Row – their Rue Cambon if you will! During the reign of the inflexible Queen Victoria, her son, the Prince of Wales, future Edward VII, experimented with the idea of combining utility with the necessary chic to look good in smoking rooms - hence the name "smoking jacket”, you guessed it -. Now I think I'm Stéphane Bern! Back on topic ...
The “specifications” were simple: make a comfortable outfit, more comfortable than the classic outfit (namely the “tailcoat”, as flexible as chain mail), a single button covered in silk, without peplums, pockets without flaps, without slit in the back, a shawl collar and draped belt (in principle, in grosgrain silk, rather than satin, reputed to be too shiny - “so shocking indeed!”). So many details intended to allow cigar ashes to slide on the garment with the same ease as that of the Lords who slid from the bar to the games table. Some variations appeared over time, including the jacket which could and still can, in a pinch, be the double-breasted blazer with two pairs of buttons, particularly in the USA which began at the end of the 19th century to emancipate itself from the cultural tutelage of the British Empire. There, the tuxedo was named Tuxedo, a reference to the Tuxedo Park Country Club in New York where the billionaire James Potter gave parties less formal than the smoking rooms of our Prince of Wales. Later, Hollywood went out of its way to shamelessly pre-empt aristocratic clothing. Fred Astaire, then the bad boys, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Samy Davis also looked good in their Tuxedos, during evenings that were not always recommended.
Admit, however, that the pinnacle of classy-chic in a tuxedo remains James Bond 007, played by the immortal, although he died last month, Sir Sean Connery.
We can clearly see that there was a great risk that the Tuxedo would be classified as the exclusive clothing of the alpha male! Fortunately, the designers were keeping an eye on things. In the 1950s, pioneer Elsa Schiaparelli dressed Katharine Hepburn in an unforgettable tuxedo in the film Woman of the Year . Then in the 70s, the king of designers, Yves Saint-Laurent, obviously did not fail to add his sublime touch to the feminine tuxedo.
The black and white Vogue photo, taken by Helmut Newton of Vibeke Knudsen almost hieratic in his Saint-Laurent tuxedo, is in the Pantheon of timeless fashion images. Now it turns out that this photo was taken on rue Aubriot, that is to say in my neighborhood of Saint-Paul, rue du Temple, on a date when I was far from being born. But now, as a patented hypersensitive HSP, I am quick to feel the feeling of already experienced and the improbable correspondences between atmospheres and sensations. It's stronger than me. Vibeke Knudsen in a tuxedo in rue Aubriot will have inspired, rest assured, the desire to offer you a garment designed with passion that you will wear in all circumstances of select parties, or even less select but simply happy ones.
Speaking again about rue Cambon, the words of Kayser Karl Lagerfeld come to mind:
“Fashion is neither moral nor amoral, but it is made to raise morale.”
Take care of yourself, above all.