Fashion Fact #2

Donna Karan invented the bodysuit.

A Donna Karan bodysuit, in cashmere with sequins.

Donna Karan founded her eponymous brand in 1984, and she announced that the collection would only comprise of clothing that she herself would wear. She became well-known for her “seven easy pieces” (a bodysuit, a coat, a jacket, blouse, skirt, pants and a fancy piece for evening) which were the staple of a working woman’s wardrobe and could be mixed and matched to make many different outfits. Donna Karan’s bodysuit became an 80’s staple, lasting well into the 90’s. It then went out of fashion, but brands like American Apparel have recently revived the piece, although without the handy snaps to facilitate….doing business.

Another interesting point about Donna Karan is that DKNY was the first successful diffusion line. Imagine a life without diffusion lines? Most of us would hardly own any designer clothing…

Image from StyleCaster.

  • Gerry

    Hi there, love your blog! Since you mentioned diffusion lines — I'm wondering if you could do a post of them? From what I know most diffusion lines are barely touched by their parent lines (i.e., McQueen, DKNY). Thoughts?

  • Ananya

    What's a diffusion line?

  • alexandrasuhnerisenberg

    Based on these two comments, I will definitely be doing a post on diffusion

    lines! I'll schedule it in for December.

  • Concrete Polishing

    love your blog!

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  • Lanvynguyen

    You’re usually so good about facts…WHAT HAPPEN HERE???? The bodysuit was certainly not invented by Donna Karan (though she should be credited for bringing it into the coporate boardrooms).

    Jules Léotard is generally credited for creating the bodysuit (aka as the Maillot) when he also invented the flying trapeze. As his family flying trapeze act grew to include female family members, the maillot evolved.

  • Anonymous

    Isn’t Léotard’s invention the one without the snaps at the crotch? Isn’t Donna Karan responsible for putting the snaps at the crotch to make it a wearable piece, rather than…a leotard?

  • Lanvynguyen

    then we should credit DK for snapping the maillots but certainly for not inventing them. Levis put rivets on pants….we now call them jeans. Even so, his family estate probably wont take credit for inventing pants. Certainly, a patent # for riveting serge de Nimes can substantiate that much better. Maybe Donna should have thought about a patent.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe I should have been more clear with my definition of the body suit
    then, I wasn’t referring to the leotard, I was referring to the version that
    has the snaps at the crotch.

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