Thursday, 28 March 2013

The Tuxedo Reimagined

In the run up to summer invitations to formal events like weddings and summer dinners will inevitably start to roll in.  If the chilly beginning to this spring is anything to go by, summer could mean facing a string of evenings spent shivering away in an evening dress for the sake of event dressing.  It is therefore worth considering a warmer evening wear option and what better way to keep warm and elegant than wearing a tuxedo.  Quite apart from the trousers and jacket keeping you from freezing, a tuxedo worn by a woman stands out as a self confident and sophisticated choice in a sea of dresses and it is one of my favourite wardrobe staples.  Wearing a tux will also dovetail nicely into the monochromatic trend for Spring/Summer 2013.

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?

This is a sponsored post.


  1. My tuxedos have been lingering un-worn in my closet, but I'm still a fan in theory. And a timely post too as I'm finally taking the shoulder pads out of my YSL velvet "le smoking."

  2. You are reading my mind, V - I've got a craving for a tux right about now! The YSL versions are singing my tune, so sleek.

  3. Oh I would love a tuxedo but it would have to be a proper YSL Le smoking - I've always thought that if I get married, that's what I'll wear!

  4. I have some lovely satin tux-style black pants and a couple of jackets that are quite tux-ish. I might try to combine them for a dressy occasion, but I'm really a dress/skirt gal at heart.

  5. I love love love lady tuxes. I begged my mother to make me one when I was 13 and I saw Tatum O'Neal wear one to the Oscars. Have been obsessed ever since. I think its time for one again.

  6. Oooh I'm itching to get my tux out now...

  7. Oh, to live somewhere it's chill enough of a spring or summer evening to warrant a jacket of any kind! Love what you're thinking thought. The huz scored a wool velvet, shawl-collar jacket last year, and wears it with a well tailored shirt and darkest, best jeans. At the same time i found a gray morning coat (with tails!)and it actually fits pretty well! Haven't found a way to wear it yet that's not too literal. But all this will be next winter, so I'll watch what you come up with in the meantime! Easy ... let you do all the work and solve my problem!

    1. Huz sounds like he is on to a good thing there! Mr V has a velvet tuxedo jacket he wears with white shirt and jeans and he does look very dapper. I'd love to see your morning coat with tails!

  8. Lovely, that is all I have to say. I love the SL collection and Dior of course. Thanks for posting the photos and feel free to drop by me too when you have time.

  9. Your eye is impeccable! I haven't had time to do much fashion show surfing, so it's lovely to see a distilled version of this look. It's inspiring.

  10. I'm loving some of the cuts and styles of the designs you've shared with us. I've been coveting some nice tuxedo style jackets similar to those first three. Great post. x

  11. Hi there- I love a tuxedo and the ones you've shared here are most chic and stylish-the JPG outfits are gorgeous indeed xxx

  12. I am a fan of the tuxedo and your review offers many options to play with. I have several vintage tuxedo jackets in my closet that are longing for an outing. Sometimes all that is needed is inspiration, so thank you for that.


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