Iconic item

AAllard’s fuseau: the “jumping trousers”

Probably seen at the beginning of the year on the catwalks and in the dressing room of some fashion influencers such as Victoria Beckham or Blanca Miro, the fuseau has made its comeback and is now a must-have. This is a great opportunity to look back on the origins of these revolutionary trousers designed for winter sports and created by a tailor from Megève...

By Chloé Redler
August 15th, 2018: fashion show of the AAllard house in Megève.

Who would have thought that trousers requested by a ski champion could one day dress all of the fashion world? Whether it’s Haute Couture or ready-to-wear, stylists and fashionistas have adopted it. Whether you go for a casual look with the latest sneakers or you pair it with high patent pumps, we love it! But did you know that the first fuseau was created by a tailor from Megève with an unusual story? Let’s focus on an extraordinary family saga … that goes on to this day.

AAllard’s fuseau: the original one and only

A brilliant idea

Le fuseau AAllard selon Armand Allard
Armand Allard at his cutting table in 1961.

In the heart of Megève, Armand Allard’s boutique has proudly stood on the village square since 1926. Introduced to sewing at an early age by his grandmother, this young talented tailor built up a loyal clientele over the years. But his destiny suddenly changed. In 1930, the spirited ski champion Emile Allais challenged him to design trousers that could improve his agility on the slopes and during competitions. Indeed, the snow clung to the baggy plus fours trousers worn at the time, preventing the athlete from improving his technique and adversely affecting the aerodynamics.

Le fuseau AAllard, le pantalon sauteur
Tight and very narrow at the bottom, the “jumping” trousers are revolutionary with their elastic under the foot to perfectly keep them in place.

“The trousers in question were form-fitted, very tight at the bottom, and above all, Allard had the brilliant idea of tucking them inside the shoes by keeping them in place with an elastic under the foot.” Emile Allais.

Since they were both experts in their own fields, they had their own opinion. But constructive ones, supported by sketches! It took a whole night’s work before the tailor found a solution to keep the trousers inside the shoes. Eureka! Putting an elastic under the foot was the obvious solution. This invention guarantees that the garment stays in place on the legs and ensures complete freedom of movement.

A champion’s trousers

Emile Allais et son célèbre fuseau AAllard
Emile Allais, three-time world champion, is given a triumphant welcome on the church square in Megève, upon his return from Chamonix in 1937.

The trousers made history along Emile Allais, when in 1937 the skier became triple world champion in alpine skiing in Chamonix. Gold medallist in downhill, slalom and combined, he became the first ambassador of the “jumping” trousers – as they were named at first. After this event, it became popular among professionals skiers and instructors and was worn by the entire ski world before quickly reaching far beyond this microcosm.

AAllard’s fuseau: from ski slopes to ready-to-wear collections

A must-have in the making

Le fuseau AAllard à la foire de Grenoble
In 1950, AAllard exhibited his pieces at the 21st Grenoble fair.

This historic sports chapter marks a turning point for AAllard. Building on its success, the fuseau – named like this because of its elongated and aerodynamic shape – evolved. It became narrower at the bottom, with a fabric extension on the top of the foot to follow every movement. Armand Allard also incorporated new colours and materials such as gabardine and tricotine.

Publicité Allard vers 1938
AAllard advertisement around 1938 – To praise its fuseau, the AAllard house called on Gaston Corde, one of the greatest poster artists in the Alps.

The post-war years were marked by the emergence of elastic fabrics, a blend of wool and nylon that guaranteed more lightness and flexibility when worn. The shape is slimmer, the legs longer, but never skin-tight. This credo persists even today at AAllard, with the ambition to fit all body types.

Antoine et Jean-Paul Allard et le portrait du fondateur Armand.
Antoine, Jean-Paul Allard and the portrait of the founder Armand… bear a family resemblance.

“Part of the secret of the AAllard fuseau lies in its cut, which hugs the body without sticking to it. That is because it benefits from adjustments made through individual measurements.” Antoine Allard

Ready to wear!

It was not until the 1970s that the fuseau was spotted on fashion shows. From ready-to-wear to haute couture, it took over catwalks. At first a simple technical garment, this flagship product of the brand from Megève can be worn in the mountains or in the city. It became an “essential accessory” is born!

Postcard: illustration by Charlie Adam

AAllard’s fuseau is a story of a family that, through generations, made sure this house icon would remain, by using new materials, a cutting-edge garment that always stays in fashion. Jean-Paul – Armand’s son – as well as his grandson Antoine after him, spared no efforts to keep on building its reputation.

“AAllard’s fuseau is a timeless piece, a must-have that still keeps some secrets.” Antoine Allard.
La boutique AAllard à Megève
The current AAllard store stands proudly in the Church Square.

As the saying goes “fashion is a perpetual renewal”. This season, the fuseau infiltrates the wardrobe of fashionistas and plays on stylistic effects. Please note that you can only boast of wearing a “real” fuseau if it bears the AAllard name. Meaning that it can only be bought in the Megève store and on the brand’s website.
Moreover, and true fans of the brand know it well, at AAllard you are not just buying a fuseau: you can appreciate the talent of expert hands adjusting the trousers to each body type. Indeed, a dedicated team of tailors and modellers use their meticulous expertise on future collections and ensure the trousers are made to measure for each client. Let’s go have a look…at full speed.

News report on AAllard on France 2 TV presented by Laurent Delahousse.