'I am sincere in my preference for my men's clothes – I do not wear them to be sensational...I think I am much more alluring in these clothes'- Marlene Dietrich

Marlene at Premiere Marlene Dietrich wearing her iconic tuxedo in public for the first time at the premiere for The Sign of the Cross in 1932

It is 1930, the film 'Morocco' starring Marlene Dietrich and Gary Cooper is showing in the cinema, a cabaret scene begins and Dietrich appears, not in a sultry, glamorous dress but in a full tuxedo and top hat. The audience in the film are shocked and boo as Dietrich carries on her act and it wouldn't be surprising if many people at the time were also shocked. Yet now the sight of Dietrich in her tuxedo and top hat is one of the most iconic (later channelled by Madonna), not just in film history but also in fashion history.

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The 1930s is most remembered in fashion history as being a time of feminine dresses, fur and sultry glamour where actresses were adorned with pearls, feathers on their silhouette highlighting dresses. Marlene Dietrich also adored the glamour of the age, rarely seen without a fur coat or stole yet she also stood strong in her desire to wear trousers and adopt the androgynous style.

Marlène Dietrich. 1956 à l'hotel de Paris.

After wearing the tuxedo in the film Morocco she then wore it in public in 1932 for the premiere of The Sign of the Cross causing amazement when the photographs hit the newspapers the next day. Although Dietrich was certainly not the first female to wear trousers (Parisians especially had been wearing the style for years), she was the first Hollywood actress to wear them in public (and to a premiere!) and to really bring this androgynous style to the big screen and to the public eye.

Marlene in Morocco Marlene Dietrich wearing the tuxedo from the film Morocco in 1930

Marlene-Trousers

The outlandish, promiscuous yet alluring German actress and her love of the androgynous style paved the way for future Hollywood actresses to wear 'male' clothing comfortably and without judgment. Greta Gabo and later Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe were all famously photographed in trousers.

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