Capri pants are many things all at once: chic, sexy, fashionable and comfortable. The basic Capri style, attributed to Sonja de Lennart has not changed much, but how and where we wear our Capris has, thanks to Audrey Hepburn, Mary Tyler Moore, Stockard Channing and Uma Thurman.
European fashion designer Sonja de Lennart debuted her Capri Collection in 1945, and it included skirts, pants and blouses. Three years later she modified the Capri pants to make them tighter, and in turn sexier. She shortened the pants to the familiar three-quarter length, just below the knee that is common today. The original version even had the small slit up the outside of the material.
Fashion and film icon Audrey Hepburn breezed around in a pair of Capri pants with ballet flats in the 1954 movie Sabrina. More than five decades later, Capris paired with ballerina flats still work. The style was popular as resort wear in the 1950s, although the pants continued to evoke sex appeal on screen.
American women traded in their skirts for Capris in the mid-1960s thanks in no small part to Mary Tyler Moore. As Laura Petrie on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Moore was given credit by Time Magazine for having made Capri pants “the biggest trend in U.S. casual attire,” while at the same time the sponsors of the TV show reported that American women were not thrilled by the site of Mary Tyler Moore in the skin-tight pants.
Capris were the pants of choice for top Pink Lady Rizzo in 1978’s Grease starring Olivia Newton John and John Travolta. Stockard Channing’s signature look included her Pink Ladies coat with black Capri pants.
The Capri pants also caused a sensation when Uma Thurman wore them in the dark Quentin Tarantino film, Pulp Fiction, in 1994.
Cotton, Inc., http://www.cottoninc.com
Sonja de Lennart, http://www.sonjadelennart.com/gallery.html
Laura Petrie’s Capri Pants, http://www.tvacres.com/clothing_pants_laurapetrie.htm