September 02 2021 – Sam Brightmore
In the late 1930s, fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli began creating jumpsuits for elegant women, although her one pieces were only worn by a select few. The sporty styles created by American designer Vera Maxwell in the mid-1940s began to find their way onto the street but were still considered a novelty item.
While those worn by women during the Second World War were mainly utilitarian by the 1950s, some American designers were experimenting with evening jumpsuits. But it took another decade for the fashion to truly become popular for day and evening wear.
The late 1960s and 1970s were it's prime years. There were sportswear styles for day, and leather one-pieces or embellished designs for evening. The 1970s jumpsuit was unisex, beloved by slim-hipped men and women. Cher and Elvis adopted the style as part of their stage personas and Studio 54 regulars danced to disco in Halston’s chic designs.
By 1980, the jumpsuit had become so popular that the American designer Geoffrey Beene declared it “the ballgown of the next century” but after falling by the wayside, the jumpsuit came back with a vengeance in the early 2000s and has been going from strength to strength ever since. Easy to wear, versatile and a little bit feisty, they have become a modern wardrobe staple.