Trend Watch: The Zouave

A rebel trouser takes to the streets of Paris and makes its way west. By Cassi Bryn Michalik
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Spring/summer '07 collections, from left: Marc Jacobs, Cloak, Three As Four
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Upon first sighting of this slightly odd new pant silhouette on the streets of Paris, our initial reaction was simply: No. Could that roomy dropped inseam/crotch be at all comfortable? Was it even flattering? Slowly but surely, we've seen more variations of this pant called the Zouave (historically worn by and named for the Algerians of the French army) begin to emerge in our own neighborhoods paired with vintage stilettos and boots. As luck would have it, the Zouave quickly moved from the fashion-forward/hipster confines of New York and Paris to the runways of New York and Paris, too.
For spring/summer 2007, a handful of designers turned out their own interpretation of this tricky, voluminous bottom. Cloak, Tom Scott, Jean-Pierre Braganza, and Three As Four all put forth tempting versions, some with elongated stripes or gleaming iridescent fabrics, and others with soft folds of pleating shaping the hips and leg. Marc Jacobs created the seemingly most adaptable style bringing the look to a more elegant (and flattering) place with either jodphur-style cropped legs or long billowing drapes of fabric—the ultimate hostess pant of our day. No doubt, these pants aren't for everyone. But we can't help admit, there is something surprisingly chic about them.
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Spring/summer '07 collections, from left: Cloak, Tom Scott, Jean-Pierre Braganza
Marc Jacobs photo courtesy of Marc Jacobs, Cloak photos by First View, Tom Scott photo by Steven Rose, courtesy of Tom Scott.
A rebel trouser takes to the streets of Paris and makes its way west.
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