To grasp how Yves Saint Laurent’s Le Smoking – one of the most iconic women’s fashion creations of the 20th century – came to be, you first must understand the evolution of the tuxedo, perhaps the most iconic piece of menswear … ever. Did Yves Saint Laurent just deliver the season’s best collection? The tux, as we know it today, was an innovation by the eldest son of Britain’s Queen Victoria, the Prince of Wales (who would eventually ascend to the throne as Edward VII). In his youth, rather than wear a formal tailcoat to soirées at the Sandringham Estate, “Bertie” would often sport a tailless garment cut in the manner of a smoking jacket. A wealthy American who’d been a guest at Sandringham, James Potter-Brown, visited the prince’s tailors, Henry Poole & Co of Savile Row, and asked if they’d make him a jacket of the sort he’d seen on Bertie. Poole obliged, and upon his return Stateside, Potter-Brown proudly donned the jacket at the posh Tuxedo Club in the New York countryside. Soon, other members (literally) followed suit. It’s for this reason that Americans still describe as a tuxedo what the British call a dinner suit. The French, meanwhile, in a nod to its origins in Sandringham’s cigar lounge, dub men’s black-tie attire by the Anglicism “Smoking”. What are the British royal family’s favourite watches? So it follows that in 1966, when legendary couturier and designer Yves Saint Laurent presented a groundbreaking women’s tuxedo, he chose to give it the definitive name “Le Smoking” – essentially, the tuxedo. Specifically tailored to flatter the female form, Saint Laurent’s fresh take on the tux was super slim in the arm and nipped at the waist, with a slightly shortened skirt and flared trousers to elongate the leg. YSL’s couture clients shunned the design as too avant-garde, but when a ready-to-wear iteration was launched via the Rive Gauche diffusion line, it was an instant hit with younger consumers. Shoes: the devil is in the (ankle) detail – just ask Kylie Jenner “For a woman, the tuxedo is an indispensable garment in which she will always feel in style, for it is a stylish garment and not a fashionable garment,” Saint Laurent said. Testament to the truth in those words, Le Smoking remains a perennial inclusion in the brand’s collections to this day. Want more stories like this? Sign up here. Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .