AKA: Beach pants (1930s)
How to say it: pa-laz-zo
- flare evenly from waist to ankle
- often in a light, floaty fabric
- wide through the leg
- full length
…of the style: Palazzo pants have a history linked with some of the biggest names in women’s fashion. Although very popular in the 1970s, it was the 1930s and Coco Chanel who first introduced them to women’s fashion. Apparently Coco came across the wide legged pants while in Venice and adopted them because they were easy to wear when getting in and out of gondolas. She also wore them at the French resort of Deauville, while in the 30s and 40s Hollywood film starts like Katherine Hepburn and Marlene Dietrich often wore them between takes on film sets.
In the years before pants were acceptable wear for women, the Palazzo pant was a popular option for resort wear or lounging, and in the 1960s crossed into evening wear as they were a chic alternative to the skirt styles of the day. The Palazzo pant’s popularity continued through the 1970s and then faded in the 80s before having a comeback in the 90s.
These days the comfort and versatility of Palazzo pants has cemented its position in the fashion marketplace and while it doesn’t always make an appearance on the runway, it is generally always available in stores, particularly in Spring and Summer.
…of the name: I couldn’t find any documentation as to where the term palazzo came from. Maybe Coco Chanel first saw them in a palazzo in Venice?
- some high-end restaurants in the 1960s did not approve of the new women’s fashions and would not allow women wearing pants to dine in their establishments. Women got around these bans by wearing Palazzo pants or culottes.
21st Century Palazzo Pants
Comfortable and chic, Palazzo pants come in many colours and prints – perfect for relaxing at a resort, a night on the town and everything in between.
Adam Lippes, Badgley Mischka
Roberto Cavalli, Ellery