The Palazzo pant made its first appearance in the 1930’s. Coco Chanel had spotted these elegant men’s trousers on a trip to Venice and identified them as a design that she could re-invent for women. Initially she tried them out herself as a clever solution to getting in and out of gondolas. Made from fluid fabrics and cut for a long legged, high-waisted silhouette, she realized this was a genuinely comfortable design that would beautifully flatter the female form. It would be a bold, modern alternative to a skirt or dress that allowed for much more ease and movement. The Palazzo Pant was created and Chanel launched her new look on the beach and round the town in the high-fashion French resort of Deauville. With pearls, with a simple blouse, with a Breton top, it was a hit and a fashion icon was born.
The avant-garde Palazzo pant was seized on by glamorous Hollywood film stars of 1903’s and 1940’s such as Katherine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich who wore them between takes on film sets. Hepburn paired hers with blazers and brogues. Marlene Dietrich wore hers with a crisp blouse. The message was clear: here was a way to look chic as a confident modern woman who worked and had her own strong identity in the world, who didn’t need to be restricted by old-fashioned skirts.
Considered to be the pinnacle of chic, this new style of trouser was quickly adopted by society women who loved its extra wide leg and sharp cut, the marriage of sophistication, comfort and elegance. But it wasn’t until the 1960’s and 1970’s that the style really took off as upscale evening-wear. Fashionable restaurants had routinely refused to admit women wearing trousers but Palazzo pants were a clever way round the ban –cooler than a skirt and smarter than an old-school trouser. Bianca Jagger wore them with memorably with a tuxedo and the fashion crowd swiftly followed suit, Studio 54, uptown NY, Diane Keaton in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall… All the hottest stars and cult figures of the day could be found rocking a palazzo pant.
Since that time, the Palazzo pant has found its place in the fashion Hall of Fame. From Kate Moss to Olivia Palermo, Angelina Jolie to Cara Delevingne, Chanel’s legacy lives on in an iconic trouser design cut for comfort, ease and eternal elegance.