1960s Emilio Pucci Pants Set

Photo courtesy of Meloo Vintage

I find that I’m a bit of an age snob when it comes to looking for sportswear for my collection. What that means is that I find it to be a lot more exciting to look for items from the first half of the 20th century than for those from the second half.

I think part of the problems is that so much survives from the 1960s and 70s, that I’ve learned to be really picky about what I pick up. If I have got mid 1960s “scooter” dresses on my mind, I could go to etsy, Ruby Lane, and Ebay and have my pick of dozens of items.  Even with high-end garments like those from Italian designer Emilio Pucci, there are hundreds of items listed for sale at any given time.

So, I don’t really search very hard for things made in the last sixty years or so, but when I run across a stellar example, I’m ready to shop. And when Melissa of Meloo Vintage posted this set on Instagram, I fell in love.

For years I’ve been looking for an older Pucci set, from his days on the Isle of Capri, but I’ve not been lucky to find what I wanted. I dumbly passed on a great ski-themed top from the late 1950s, and I’ve been kicking myself ever since. But when I saw this tunic and pants set, I knew I’d found my Pucci set.

It dates a little later, from the early to mid 1960s. Pucci can be difficult to date, as the nature of the prints are outside the whims of fashion. Older prints (from the 1950s) are often on a theme, like the skiing blouse I mentioned. The label used is a big help, and my set has the labels most commonly seen in the 1960s.

I’d love to think that some jet setter bought it in Italy, but instead there is a B. Forman of Rochester label alongside the Pucci one. I have no idea what the little “E” label means.

You can see that a metal zipper was used, but be sure to note the way it was inserted – by hand picking. This is a detail seen more commonly in couture clothing, which this is not. But it does go to show how much more handwork went into high-end ready-to-wear fifty-five years ago than you see today.

The crease in the pants is made permanent by the use of hand picking, and the side seams are secured in the same manner.

What really sold me on this set was the way the print of the tunic was designed specifically to be a top with a scalloped edge. It’s one of things that makes the set so special. Imagine, for contrast, if the tunic was made from the same print, but that it was cut in a willy-nilly manner with no thought to the scallops or to the placement of the center of the design.

What could be more Continental than three-quarters length sleeves with French cuffs?

The bateau neck is actually padded. It’s just one more great detail.

In the late 1960s mainstream fashion caught up with Pucci, and these “psychedelic” prints were everywhere. From what I’ve seen of Pucci garments from the 1970s and later, the print became the design, but in these earlier pieces you can see how Pucci was more than just a bunch of color thrown onto the fabric.

22 Comments

Filed under Collecting, Designers, Sportswear, Vintage Clothing

22 responses to “1960s Emilio Pucci Pants Set

  1. jacq staubs

    Nice find Lizzie! I personally was not so “enthused” with Pucci-(only)because my brain was saturated with Key West Hand Print) and honestly too young to fully appreciate it) until I realized it was perhaps the Italian version of printed chic? I saw an elegant woman at a gallery opening in Key West talking to another in a Lilly. 50 yrs.. later still vivid! Like the colors! The Pucci was silk jersey-3/4 sleeve slinky shift. The Lilly -cotton above knee-sleeveless . Both had on heavy “good” jewelry-heavy gold bracelet/earrings.” An “international” fashion / society statement? I was 19.

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  2. jacq staubs

    I forgot to mention…The woman wearing the LILLY was Lilly Pulitzer. The other woman was Texas Kate Schwepps .

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    • Honestly, your memories are priceless!

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      • jacq staubs

        The Pucci outfit jarred my brain-what’s left of it. It took a few minutes to recollect the incident -I completely forgot about it until I saw the Pucci. It is hard to forget the people who offered such life altering experiences. Also I was 19 / impressionable and learning. This is a nice birthday gift from Lizzie!

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  3. Christina

    The E could be for European (sizing) or Export. I have seen it on US Pucci labels. What’s not to like about a concealed zip (zipper).

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  4. jacq staubs

    a concealed zipper is almost / or is a relic of days gone bye

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  5. The details in that are gorgeous, and make it really special. (Now I’m off to look up ‘hand picking’…)

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    • jacq staubs

      Thank you. It was just an example of how an article of clothing( as you know) can spur a recollection of I guess was an indelible memory?! The gallery space in which this occurred was the Old Harbor House on Front Street. It was the second floor -of what had previously been the original home / birthplace (I was informed by owners)of Key West Hand Print Fabrics. Lilly must have been down on one of her frequent visits to work with Peter Pell (design director / owner /my surrogate uncle and my mother to see the new building / and select fabrics Second floor also had print tables and Art Dept. . My mom started there with Pete /Jimmy .So the space had significance to me after the gallery opened. Most likely it was one of Susie De Poo’s first showings? Observing those two women was a WWD photo op. Thank Lizzie for a nice birthday memory rush!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m amazed by the beautiful details on this garment, given that it’s not couture! Is the top silk?

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  7. Morning A Waters

    I was lucky enough to have my Grandmother teach me how to hand pick a zipper into a garment. I still use the technique !

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    • It’s a beautiful detail.

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      • jacq staubs

        Usually the hidden zipper only showed up in designer clothes / and with you / your grandmother – people who appreciated a beautifully finished garment. Nice! Nothing more unattractive than looking at a beautiful dress from the back and a glaring metal zipper staring at you. Personal opinion – I think it ruins the overall effect . As in a bridal dress the guests must fixate on rather than the bride.

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  8. Oh this is gorgeous! I aspire to wear something fabulous like that some day – in Palm Springs of course 🙂

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  9. Wow, just wow-this is so up my ally. I think I would have sprung for this too. The scalloped edge first caught my eye.

    I want a Pucci piece and it doesn’t even have to be from the 60s or anything.However, it needs to be on the 2nd hand market. Wonderful purchase.

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  10. Mrs2KalEL

    this is beautiful!!

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  11. Keith Oliver

    Wonderful…the colours, pattern and the detail that went into these pieces!

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  12. This is spectacular! I love the hem on the top especially!

    I completely understand what you are saying about getting pickier about what you add to your collection. That is also important when it comes to how you spend your money. Spend $100 and save multiple pieces from the 60s or 70s, or spend $100 and save one incredibly rare piece from the 1900s…? Makes sense!

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