Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Vintage Snapshot: Peekaboo Hotpants

Godfather James Brown was an enthusiast, singing in tribute to the countless women who, roundabout 1970, made hot pants a household name.

No, not these.


The term "hot pants" was coined by fashion bible Women's Wear Daily, whose constituency of garment manufacturers was delighted to hit upon a style that rivalled the popularity the micro-mini, with similar cost efficiencies on fabric.

My favorite incarnation of short shorts has to be the frankly bizarre hybrid of hotpants plus maxi dress. To the rear, a skirt that plunged to the floor, offering the drama and majesty inherent in a train of fabric. To the front, a slit up to there, offering the altogether different theatrics of thigh-high exposé.

This look was typically worn by the raciest hostess on the block while serving cocktail meatballs to appreciative neighbors. Or, better, by a guest eager to scandalize the old-biddy organizers at a function where the dress code was formal.

Superfine peekaboo hotpants numbers are currently found on eBay and other vintage resellers, but they seem to have no official name. Try keywording "gown shorts tunic hostess maxi slit"--or be on the lookout for gowns by Alfred Shaheen, who was a repeat offender with this combo.

(sauna pants image from the delightfully weird ectomoplasmosis; photo of Veruschka by Henry Clarke)


  1. I adore Veruschka! I believe that's Gucci on her shoulder and arm? And love the large hat with the hot pants!

  2. Yes, Lesley Ann, she's wearing Gucci; the photo was shot in the Borghese Gardens in Rome . . .

    I agree about the hat and the shorts, the proportions work wonderfully together. And of course Veruschka was the ultimate model . . .

    thanks for commenting!

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