Ready To Wear: Kate Moss turns classic

Well, Kate Moss certainly took Buy Nothing Day to heart this year. In fact, it's safe to say that it's Buy Nothing Month for Ms Moss, if the Daily Mirror is to be trusted. The paper ran a feature on the model last week, claiming that she had been wearing the same tuxedo jacket "10 times in the same fortnight", and running pictures to prove the point. This must, admittedly, be unprecedented. It is an extremely nice jacket, attributed to Yves Saint Laurent, although it might be vintage rather than new, and remarkably similar to one in her Christmas range for Topshop. Hmmm.

Wherever this mother-of-all-It-girls' le smoking jacket comes from, it proves that even those with the entire designer fashion industry at their fingertips are moving away from obviously trend-driven pieces, and towards something more classic. Readers of this column will have already noted the predominance of the iconic quilted Chanel 2.55 bag at the Paris shows last month, as carried by every fashion editor worth her front-row credentials, and a far cry from the oversized bling that has dominated this arena until now. The tuxedo jacket has a similar status, and, like the bag, is quintessentially Parisian but just that little bit nervy. It was, after all, originally intended for a man. Oh-la-la!

Some fashion history. The tuxedo (in French, it's called le smoking) first found its way into the modern woman's wardrobe courtesy of Yves Saint Laurent in 1966, and became one of his most successful innovations, a signature that, in various incarnations, featured on his runway every season. It has an impressively grand following: Catherine Deneuve loves it, and Lauren Bacall wears the look with great style.

While Kate Moss may stamp her own identity on to her tuxedo jacket by wearing it during the day and with skinny jeans, it is still perfect for women who'd rather not wear overtly feminine attire after dark. With this in mind - and this is the appeal of any garment with classic status - the tuxedo jacket allows both designer and wearer to make it their own. In this it is less ego-driven than much of the womenswear currently on offer, catering more to the needs of the customer than the designer superstar behind it.

Tellingly, Yves Saint Laurent was a man able to suspend his belief in himself in order to please the women he dressed. Small wonder that they loved him for it.

s.frankel@independent.co.uk

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