Le Smoke and Mirrors
When the miniskirt failed to shock, Algerian born Yves Saint Laurent opted to conceal rather than expose the female figure in his Le Smoking ensemble of 1966. With no flesh on display, the shock-factor would lie in the transgressive gender-bending suit, directly borrowed from menswear and positioning the wearer in a liminal state between the male and female gender. The most well known image of the suit was photographed by Helmut Newton in 1975 for French Vogue and featured a pair of women; one alpha-model assuming a role of power dressed in Le Smoking standing beside a nude and seemingly effeminate model. YSL’s 2013 Baby Doll mascara video campaign followed a rambunctious Cara Delevingne with a brief scene featuring the model suited up in Le Smoking and standing opposite a nude female model, much like the well-known Newton photo.