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Once a week at Fräulein, we dedicate our love to fashion icons, fashion victims, and those that leave a lasting impression …

While wearing your favorite jeans, or these days some comfy sweatpants, it is easy to forget that not long ago, women were banned from wearing pants. Putting women in trousers modernized their wardrobe but, in the late 60s, caused a revolution. Nan Kempner, an American socialite and style icon, helped redefining what a lady could wear. While dining at New York City’s La Cote Basque, Nan was forbidden entrance when she appeared in a Yves Saint Laurent trouser suit. Not missing a beat, she took off her pants and walked in the restaurant wearing just her top as an ultra-mini dress.

Nan Kempner was born into wealth and soon came into touch with designer clothes, and, more important, Haute Couture. She was an avid collector of gowns by Yves Saint Laurent, her favorite, Valentino, and Oscar de la Renta, owning some of the most iconic designs of mid-20 th century couture. Her great eye for fashion and original observations on style made her a fashion editor for Harper’s Bazaar and contributing editor for French Vogue, and later a design consultant for luxury brands.

The NYC socialite and charity worker was known for her elegant but modern style, mixing different styles and decades, and never giving away anything from her wardrobe. In 1972 she told Woman’s Wear Daily: “I always wear sportswear for day – sweaters, skirts and pants. I’m very much a pants girl. At night, I switch to suits like Adolfo’s metallic Chanel-looking suit, or Halston’s long cashmere dress. “ During 55 years of her working in the fashion industry, she only missed one season of runway shows. In 2006, one year after her death, the Met’s Costume Institute dedicated a whole exhibition to her privat collection of timeless Haute Couture. See below for what she would wear today.

Photos by Getty Images

Text by Hannah Sulzbach

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