Saturday, March 15, 2008

All-in-One jumpsuit

TIRED of matching tops with the right bottom in your dressing lately? One simple and quick solution is the all-in-one jumpsuit. It’s easy to wear and all you need to add on is a belt, the right shoes and plenty of accessories.

Once popular in the 1970s, this one-piece design is back in fashion this Spring/Summer, appearing in a variety of styles from designers such as Stella McCartney, Marc Jacobs, Donna Karan and Giorgio Armani.

Jumpsuits are essentially one-piece garments used for parachuting and skydiving, hence the name. It has later come to be used as a common term for any one-piece garment with sleeves and legs. In the context of fashion, it has been called a playsuit or a romper when the length is shorter, or a cat suit when it’s skin-tight with leggings.

Originally, the design of the jumpsuit is to minimise the risk of covering the handles and grips for the skydiver. Today, it has found other specialised use by aviators and astronauts who wear insulated, fire-retardant jumpsuits for their missions while motor racing drivers wear fire-resistant jumpsuits to protect them against fire and abrasion.
Competitive skiers and speed skaters, on the other hand, wear their jumpsuits skin tight to provide freedom of movement while minimising air resistance.

Fashion works in a peculiar way and creates a trend out of it. In the 1970s, the shockingly new anti-fashion spirit was inspiring style pundits to start mixing genuine work wear with their high-fashion labels.

The industrial boiler suit and the military aviator jumpsuit were such garments and the one-piece style soon segued into the design pads of the fashion designers who created a variety of styles inspired by this all-in-one look. Celebrities of the 1970s disco days like Bianca Jagger and Diana Ross were spotted in them at the infamous Studio 54 in New York City during its heyday.

For this Spring/Summer 2008, the retro jumpsuit is reworked and restyled in different lengths and different fabrics making this easy-to-wear outfit ideal for day and night. At DKNY, the collection was right in tandem with the 1970s resurgence in the season’s fashion direction. Jumpsuits are a new favourite with Donna Karan who reportedly said “my life is in a jumpsuit and I’m so glad it’s back. To me, it’s an icon”.

Cut in wool or silk, the jumpsuit gets a feminine touch with puffed sleeves and cinched at the waist with graphic obi-belt and neon T-bar platform shoes. The one-piece icon also appeared in a playful, silky romper with jumbo leaf prints and long puffed sleeves.

In a collection where colour was chosen to define shape and emphasize the return to minimalism, Giorgio Armani applied a natural colour palette of sand, dusty grey, sage green and mineral light blue to his Emporio Armani for Spring/Summer 2008.

In this display of apparent reductions, clothes are transformed into jumpsuits or rompers which were soft and sensual without a hint of active sport or tiny cat suits with mini-trousers beneath a cloud of sequins.

The result was a signature Armani fluid look that was softened with a drape held together with a silk flower or dressed up with a matching jacket and metallic heels. Similarly at Dorothy Perkins, the jumpsuit gets a softer touch with a khaki version in fluid jersey that gathers at the ankle for a “harem pants” effect.

The halter top is sexy with a built-in necklace of huge white beads. Worn with leg lengthening heels, a textured belt and plenty of attitude, you are set for a look that will take you from day to night.

The night look seems to be the focus for Graeme Black’s final collection at Salvatore Ferragamo where the jumpsuit gets a coat of sequins and sparkled at a recent showing in Kuala Lumpur. The jumpsuit here cuts an interesting early ’80s silhouette with lightly padded shoulders and a slim cut legs.

More variations of these comfortable and retro jumpsuits from well-known designers can be ordered by mail from which stocks a good collection of these all-in-one garments. For casual daywear, “See by Chloe” offers a grey heavy cotton jersey sleeveless jumpsuit with ruche detailing on racer back and shoulder straps. It has a V-neckline, double drawstring waist, two zipped front patch pockets and can be simply slipped over a tank top.

Black and white graphic pebble prints decorate the “Natasia” halter romper by Diane Von Furstenberg which is a perfect outfit to pack for that exotic getaway. This sexy linen jumpsuit has a V-neck and two front patch pockets and complements the season’s large tote bags very well.

More holiday-inspired garments can also be found at Antik Batik which offers a colourful graphic print jumpsuit in comfortable cotton. The “Turel” halter has a self-tie neck, a deep V-neckline, an elasticised empire waist, two slit side pockets and wide legs.

For a full retro look, there is a canary yellow silk bandeau jumpsuit with a self-tie belt from Paul & Joe. Called the Lapaulet silk jumpsuit, it has a deep V-neck with an elasticised bust panel. Paired it with metallic heels and chunky accessories for a night out at the clubs.