By  on October 4, 2010

While nowadays Jean Patou is best known as one of the early sportswear pioneers, he also was a trailblazer in a number of eclectic ways. According to WWD, Patou, for instance, made history when he introduced the ankle-length cocktail dress in 1929. “Its launching created pandemonium among buyers who were unprepared for the change,” wrote the paper, explaining that “the current skirt lengths were nearer the knee than the ankle.” He was also an innovator in stressing “the importance of accessories as a contribution to the complete ensemble” and was the first “in transforming bathing suit fashions” with his cropped pleated trousers, dubbed “Patou shorts.” Fashion boozehounds can also thank him for “the installation of a bar, serving drinks to customers during fittings” — another apparent first.

This story first appeared in the October 4, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

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