Created in 1966 by famous couturier Yves Saint Laurent, the Le Smoking tuxedo suit for women was the first of its kind to earn attention in the fashion world and in popular culture. It pioneered long, minimalist, androgynous styles for women, as well as the use of power suits and the pantsuit in modern-day society. Fashion photography echoes the influence of this suit in shoots that feature androgynous models with slicked-back hair in a mannish three-piece suit, a style that was first popularised in photographs by Helmut Newton. Yves Saint-Laurent was seen by many as having empowered women by giving them the option to wear clothes that were normally worn by men with influence and power.
This suit has continued to influence fashion designers' collections through the 2000s. In French and many other languages, the anglicism smoking is a generic colloquialism referring to any kind of tuxedo/black tie clothing.
Photo by Helmut Newton 1975