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Look of the Week: Bye, Barbie! America Ferrera ditches pink for a black tux

By Christy Choi, CNN

(CNN) — There was not a stitch of Barbie’s signature color to be seen on America Ferrera at the Governors Awards on Tuesday. The actor forwent pink for a black custom Moschino tuxedo with sleek grosgrain peak lapels, matching pants, cummerbund and bow tie.

An apparent foil to her “Barbie” co-star Margot Robbie’s ruffled hot-pink homage to a vintage Barbie doll at the Golden Globes this week, Ferrera’s spin on classic menswear continued a trend of power-dressing and statement-making by Hollywood’s leading ladies.

Tuxedos for women are far more ubiquitous than they once were, making relatively frequent appearances on red carpets, runways and luxury ads — like watchmaker IWC Schaffhausen’s 2014 “Timeless Portofino” campaign, which saw Cate Blanchett, Emily Blunt and Zhou Xun looking dapper in dark tuxedos and chignon buns as they gallivanted across Italy.

Fashion designers have also given the tux some playful makeovers in recent years. Who could forget the stunning green Burberry three-piece with black lapels worn by Lou, Cate Blanchett’s character in “Ocean’s 8,”; the playful sage Tom Ford tux, paired with a black tie and oversized pink bow accent on her waistline, that Blanchett herself wore to last year’s Green Carpet Fashion Awards; or Janelle Monae’s Dolce & Gabbana embroidered floral number at the 2018 Grammys?

But it wasn’t always easy for women to sport a jacket and pants in public.

Ferrera’s sharp tuxedo harkened back to Marlene Dietrich’s suit in the 1930 feature film “Morocco.” That look, complete with top hat, was pioneering at a time where women wearing pants outside the home was still inconceivable. And women today owe a debt of gratitude to the perseverance of actors like Dietrich, Greta Garbo and Katharine Hepburn who faced pressure to conform and opposition to wearing pants from the very studios that hired them.

It would take decades for the female tuxedo to make it into the annals of haute couture, with Yves Saint Laurent first including his famed “Le Smoking tuxedo” in his Fall-Winter 1966 collection. And, even then, the tuxedo was far from accepted as a wardrobe staple.

“Saint Laurent’s tuxedo proved too ahead of its time and was initially snubbed by his haute couture clientele,” the brand writes on its Paris museum’s website. Just a single tuxedo from that collection sold, despite the designer calling the outfit an “an indispensable garment” in which women will “always feel in style.”

“It is a stylish garment and not a fashionable garment,” the label added, quoting its founder. “Fashions fade, style is eternal.”

The designer would continue including tuxedos in his collections until 2002. And with a younger generation of actors adopting the tuxedo — think Bella Ramsey, Zendaya and even Ferrera’s 16-year-old “Barbie” co-star Ariana Greenblatt, who wore a modern Saint Laurent number to the Golden Globes earlier this week — we’re likely to see more of them on the red carpet and beyond.

Observers appear far kinder today than in Dietrich and Hepburn’s time.

“Le smoking… hot,” read one comment on Ferrera’s stylist Karla Welch’s Instagram post, while another user wrote: “Oh! One year ALL the women should wear tuxes to a show!”

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