British womenswear designer Amanda Wakeley talks about her love for the tuxedo and why there’s a mysterious allure about a woman in the most masculine piece of clothing
Helmut Newton’s powerful image of a woman wearing a tux suit is one of my earliest fashion memories as a young teenager – the model’s face is slightly androgynous, and yet she is fearlessly feminine. Her mannish trouser suit is re-worked to be innately powerful and sexy and the white shirt is re-invented into a white silk blouse. It was this image that made me aware of the power of dressing and the power of a beautifully cut jacket being one of the foundations pieces, if not the foundation piece of any wardrobe.
Why a tuxedo jacket rather than a blazer? Tuxedos are glamorous and worn at celebratory and glamorous times. There is a nostalgia about them and a tuxedo re-invented for a woman is a power jacket. Whether it is worn over jeans or as a full-blown tux suit, it is a powerful dressing tool. Here, is my collection of the most iconic women in the boundary-pushing classic and
Opting for slimmer silhouettes, Kate Moss (pictured above) revived the tuxedo in the early noughties with pencil leg pants and a cropped tuxedo jacket giving this look a youthful and sexy update.
Known for her commanding character, both on and off screen, Marlene Deitrich epitomised the ‘Le Smoking’ look. The queen of androgyny, Marlene most memorable on-screen moment occurs in the movie Morocco, performing a cabaret act as Amy Jolly in full tux and top hat.
“I am sincere in my preference for my men’s clothes – I do not wear them to be sensational…I think I am much more alluring in these clothes” – Marlene Dietrich
Style icon, Bianca Jagger was renowned for her love affair with tuxedo shapes, often spotted wearing a classic white tuxedo with wide-leg pants when out in public. Bianca’s chose to forgo a classic bridal dress for her wedding to Mick Jagger, instead opting for a crisp tuxedo jacket and skirt as the entirety of her bridal outfit.
Angelina Jolie hit the red carpet for the 2015 BAFTA’s with her partner Brad Pitt wearing coordinating ‘His n Hers’ tuxedos. Angelina looked eminently sophisticated finishing the look with classic patent pumps and undone bow tie, that created a feel of nonchalant elegance.
The tuxedo is as much part of Janelle Monae’s persona as her music. Janelle has made this black tie look her style signature, often playing with cuts and lengths of these iconic pieces to reinvent her look.
To find your perfect tuxedo style, shop Tux Times at Amanda Wakeley
Amanda Wakeley image credit: Jen Carey