What are culottes and where did they come from? In the past season the classical culottes have made a glorious comeback, this year in particular. They are incredibly chic, comfy and versatile – the perfect summer staple.
And this is hardly the pant’s first time in the fashion limelight however. Culottes have a long, tumultuous history, and have gone through a number of changes throughout the years. The French word culotte signifies a pair of pants, trousers or shorts, derived from the French word culot, meaning the lower half of a something… in other words: bottoms.
Over the last period, they’ve become one of the coolest trends ever. But how would you classify this quirky piece of fashion? Shorts, pants, skirt, or all of the above? Truth is culottes are a thing of their own kind.
The culotte becomes a garment for females from the Victorian times, and became a necessity for the active women who wanted to ride horses and ride bikes. Victorian culottes were disguised as floor length skirts, with the leg split thoroughly covered, therefore, it was almost impossible to tell the difference.
Culottes or skirt-pants if you want, made their debut in the early 1500s, but they made an appearance in almost every decade ever since. But the thing is, culottes weren’t actually fashionable until the 1930s. According to Vogue, designer Elsa Schiaparelli “created the revolutionary divided skirt, a forerunner of shorts, which was worn by Lili de Alvarez at Wimbledon in 1931 and shocked the tennis world,” essentially bringing culottes to the world.
“[Elsa] Schiaparelli wore her true undivided skirt, undisguised by panels or a wraparound skirt, in London during a trip to buy tweeds. The garment caused much controversy and was loudly condemned by the British press.” (Dilys E Blum)
Culottes really took of in the 40s together with the woman empowerment movement. Two-piece outfits were popular in the ‘40s because there was a rationing on fabric due to the war.
And here’s designer Anne Fogarty and the culottes she designed, in Harper’s Bazaar in 1966.
Bianca Jagger, a human rights advocate and actress, in a culottes jumpsuit sometimes in the ’70s.
In the 80s and 90s, culottes were a standard fashion statement and the design was adopted by some of the major fashion houses.
Now, we find ourselves the new millennium where culottes are still all the rage.
Here’s some culottes designed by me for Navitique. I really wanted to have a personal take on this trend, with some bold colors that will make you pop this summer.
The high waist is tailored to highlight your waist and the soft fabric will keep you cool and comfortable for the whole day. These trousers are available in more colors. Pre-order them today and we’ll get them to you as soon as possible to integrate them in your summer wardrobe.
“From their earliest associations with suffragists and female athletes to their newfound popularity, these breezy pants are about liberation, and, really, what could be more sexy than that?” (Véronique Hyland, 2015, New York Times)
So, dear fashionistas, do you love them or not?