Designers seem to be channeling the spirit of the Le Smoking jacket en masse in Milan this week. With inspirations stemming back to 70s Anjelica Huston and Bianca Jagger to the man who gave the style its namesake; Yves Saint Laurent. However, unbeknownst to most fashionistas and fashion blogs of today who always credit Chevalier Saint Laurent with the popularity of the look, the real originators of Le Smoking were the legendary entertainers of the 40s. Particularly strong and independent women of the 40s sported tuxedo looks. In particular Anna May Wong, the original ‘dragon lady’; Marlene Dietrich, who’s low voice invoked her to sing songs normally reserved for men; and Josephine Baker, who was known to have several affairs with women. These strong women were all breaking the mold of classic womanhood by wearing tuxedos all the while inadvertently pushing womens liberation and equality. From the 40s groundbreakers, to Saint Laurent’s naming and re-establishing of Le Smokings chicness, to its renaissance on Milan’s runways today; the jacket will always be a staple of the elegant strength of the woman. These looks from Moschino, Dolce & Gabbana, and Emilio Pucci all channel the originators of Le Smoking: Marlene Dietrich, Josephine Baker, and Anna May Wong.