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Female Emancipation?

Travesty or trouser role – since the 18th century, the two have been more or less synonymous on Western theater stages and refer to a woman playing a male role. It was and is a question of humorous contretemps, comedy of manners, but also of eye-catching head-turners. To make the ‘joke’ work at all there had to be a prevailing social taboo, intuitively felt by all the audience: for centuries, trousers were strictly reserved for men. In the 1920s, trousers for women to wear in the home and as casuals became popular – but that all changed when Marlene Dietrich upped the ante by wearing a tailored men’s suit for the first time. What had seemed comical on the stage had suddenly taken a serious turn: pants on female legs, a whole “suit” for women? How scandalous and provocative. Beginning in the 1960s, the two- or three-piece pantsuit (or trousersuit) became available to all classes of society, and served as a symbol of the emancipated woman.


Pantsuit, three-piece


Ted Lapidus


» GNM T8993