Ever since Yves Saint Laurent claimed "le smoking" for women's wardrobes this elegant evening option has been reinvented season after season by designers. Whatever the headline trends might be, if you scratch the surface of the designer collections each season you will inevitably unearth a reworked version of this wardrobe classic. This season I found that there was a breadth of influences designers used in their reimagining of the tuxedo. The result was a plethora of sophisticated and classy looks from which to draw inspiration when reimagining your own way to wear a tux, or to keep in mind if a new tuxedo is on your shopping list. The following are a few of my favourite tuxedo looks for Spring/Summer 2013.
This season marks Hedi Slimane's first collection since he took over the reigns of Saint Laurent, the house of the designer that started it all. Slimane reimagined the tux with a seventies vibe of opulent pussy bow neckties in luxurious black chiffon, a cropped close fitting jacket, slim line trousers and wide brim hats.
|Saint Laurent SS 2013. Source: Vogue|
It is interesting to compare how other design houses infused their design DNA into the tuxedo this season. Christian Dior incorporated the signature peplum shape for which the house is famous into the jacket of the tuxedo. Vionnet's slinky white version with a contrasting lapel drew on the draped silhouette for which the house is renowned. Then there are lashings of unexpected pleated silver lamé at Victor and Rolf in the form of trims on the lapels of a tux jacket and wide legged lamé trousers.
|Christian Dior, Vionnet, Victor and Rolf SS 2013. Source: Vogue|
Balmain is arguably the house of the power suit. Strong of silhouette, exaggerated of shoulder, nipped in of waist, lean of leg line - these are the style mantras of the Balmain woman. Also with a relatively new designer at the helm, Olivier Rousteing gave us the tuxedo reworked with signature big Balmain shoulders, in monochromatic harlequin prints and with the option of modernising more traditional tuxedo jacket styles with less expected separates such as a cropped top and loose fit leather trousers.
|Balmain SS 2013. Source: Vogue|
Jean Paul Gaultier presented a very eighties style of tuxedo in his ready-to-wear collection modelled by dead ringers for eighties pop icon Grace Jones. He continued with the theme in his couture collection featuring a tuxedo with power shoulders and tapered baggy trousers.
|Jean Paul Gaultier RTW and Couture SS 2013. Source: Vogue|
Lanvin's creative director Alber Elbaz is lauded as being a designer that understands the soul of a woman as he produces timeless, feminine designs that celebrate the female form. An avid wearer of the tuxedo himself, Elbaz spent part of his career designing ready-to-wear at Yves Saint Laurent and this season he offered a much sharper profile than usual, of which his vision of the tuxedo was key. Elbaz has said that the square was the shape he kept coming back to in this collection. In his hands the tuxedo was all about a strong square shouldered jacket with a boxy cut, paired with billowing trousers tapered at the ankle or alternatively, a sharp, angular skirt. There was also an eastern influence evident in the accents lent to the tuxedo by the use of obi belts, asymmetric cuts and kimono style jackets. The result was a fresh and modern twist on the tuxedo that gives the wearer a strong yet still very feminine silhouette.
|Lanvin SS 2013 - Source: Vogue|
Pieces of the Lanvin Spring/Summer collection are currently available at Harrods including the white contrast lapel jacket and sleeveless asymmetric jacket featured on the runway. Be still my beating heart!
Are you a fan of the tuxedo? Would you wear a tuxedo as formal wear instead of a dress?
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