The catsuit made it’s first debut as a fashion piece on Cat Woman in the 1940 comic- hence the fancy name.
Until the 1960’s the bodysuit, which evolved from the leotard was primarily used for working out, but not as a street wear piece. In the mid 1960’s, the female led Womens Liberation movement became widely known around the world, which paved the way for less modest clothing options to become more popular than the previous decades.
Pucci designed eccentric psychedelic catsuits in the early 1960’s. French designer Andre Courreges braved the new frontier of the fashion world in the mid 1960’s with his Space Age collection which featured futuristic designs such as moon boots, robot inspired goggles and of course a long-sleeved one piece jumpsuit.
Yves Saint Laurent made his first jumpsuit available in 1968, inspired by aviator uniforms but with a fresh take that was designed to highlight an elegant silhouette.
Norma Kamali created her iteration of the jumpsuit which combined the ease and comfort of sports wear with the luxury and glamour of an evening gown.
Fast forward to the counterculture scene of the late 1960’s where film stars like Diana Rigg as Emma Peel and Barbarella’s head-turning Jane Fonda stole the show in their curve hugging catsuits.
Women weren’t the only ones reclaiming their fashion power in the late 1960’s though. Some of our most beloved 'Gents of Style' were making bold statements with their one piece numbers.
The perfectly androgynous jumpsuit was a staple of the 70’s rockstar. With the ever popular Free Love Movement/ Sexual Revolution, something marketed as “fits so tight it shows all you’ve got…you’re a walking turn on” it’s no wonder everyone from Cher to Elton to David Bowie had a massive collection of epic catsuits!
From the Mary Quant Exhibition, her Catsuit from the late 1960's: