This is a French term, describing a woman’s tailored costume or suit, and it brooks no discussion. It is a timeless pairing of a jacket and a skirt, or else a jacket and pants, elegant and refined, as well as sober and sporty: in any case the term always conveys a connotation of tailoring. There was a time that the tailleur, given the specific details of its rigorous cut, could only be made by a men’s taior, in French, of course, a tailleur. It was the great English tailor John Redfern who made the first tailleur in 1885 for the Princess of Wales. At first, it was reserved for informal occasions, especially in the morning, and the tailleur gradually affirmed itself, simple, without frills, emphasized by masculine accessories, from the waistcoat to the cravat, in the last decade of the nineteenth century, as a distinctive expression of a desire for an active life, a need for liberty that verged on feminism. This was fashion’s first step in the direction of women’s emancipation. All the same, the tailleur of the time, although it did represent an escape from the impediment of traditional dress, was anything but convenient for women: the tailor transferred into the new item of clothing the heavy fabrics, the horsehair paddedstructure, and the padded shoulders of the men’s outfit and it was not until the First World War that the skirt would be shortened, to be met by high boots, at the height of a hand’s-breadth below the knee. It would be necessary to wait for the revolutionary intuition of Giorgio Armani, in the 1970s, once again marked by an upsurge of feminism, before the tailleur for women could include a destructured jacket, light fabrics with a solid framework, and the absence of all structure. A noteworthy forerunner of a complete break in the clothing of the new women was the revisitation of the tailleur by Chanel: during wartime, she had only jersey to work with and it was with this knitwear fabric, structured, light and yielding to the iron, that Coco created her tailleur, soft, rigorous, but absolutely feminine in its relaxed looseness, later reworked, during the 1920s and beyond, into the famous tweed suits, the jacket adorned with braidwork and golden buttons. Never forgotten and often on the crest of various fashion waves, the tailleur became a provocative disguise and taboo-breaker for many of the divas of the passt. Marlene Dietrich loved to wear a jacket and trousers, the first woman to dare to do so in public, a forerunner of what would become the timeless woman’s pantsuit. Joan Crawford, on the other hand, preferred the skirt, concentrating her attention on the jacket (created for her by the Hollywood costume designer Adrian): a handsome jacket with broad padded shoulders with a view to slimming the hips, a model that was copied again and again, somewhat stern, preferably dark, embellished with embroideries and passementerie. The tailleur is timeless. Fashions come and go, but the tailleur remains. It clings to the body as if it were a cardigan, it is illuminated with sherbet hues and costume jewelry, it can be sexy or stern, often it turns a page and looks back, it reappropriates the 1930s and 1940s silhouette, it rereads with a contemporary eye the teachings of Patou, Schiaparelli, Chanel. At times it narrows the torso and lengthens the hem; it becomes austere, but also mysterious and seductive. Androgynous and reserved. And even intriguing, when the skirt plays at being thrifty and shrinks to a microskirt, under jackets that allow glimpses of nudity. The conventions shatter, and new ones are attempted, invented matches: a hint of a bolero jacket, a vague reference to ski pants, a comfortable jacket with a sliding belt at the waist, accompanied by cigarette pants. And then there are hemmed tube pants, joined with a very trim and tapered tailcoat-jacket. Underneath, shiny blouses, colorful little pullovers, or else nothing at all, worn over bare skin. The ways of the tailleur are infinite. It respects the severity of a jacket, shirt, and skirt, or else it breaks the rules and gives way to countless other combinations. The tailleur had established its own unique presence by the 1980s, a veritable gymnasium of stylistic exercises for the best known names in fashion: the extraordinary allure of Saint-Laurent, the magnificent shoulders of Valentino, the simplicity of Mila Schön, the grace of Krizia, the audacity of Versace, the geometries of Ferré have all separately given an unmistakable look to the jacket and carried out new cuts and innovations on the multiform skirt, bringing as well, to the tailleur, whether black or in various exquisite colors, the elegance of the tuxedo.