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Mallorca Fashion Island

Ladies' iconic fashion item designed in Mallorca

Way back in the 30's, in the golden years just before the civil war, Mallorca was a hideaway and playground for the cultural and artistic glitterati of the time in Bohemian colonies like Cala d'Or and as we shall see, the Formentor Peninsula near Puerto Pollensa.

In 1929 the poet Adam Diehl realised his dream to build a cultural oasis and hotel by enlisting French architect Le Corbusier and painter and landscape designer Felipe Bellini for the job. The luxurious hotel, now known as the Barcelo Formentor, cost 14 million pesetas and charged 35 pts per night, full board!

As the island's most prestigious hotel it drew the rich, famous and arty; Charles Chaplin, Gary Cooper, David Niven, John Wayne, Peter Ustinov, Audrey Hepburn, Churchill, Gorbachov, Helmut Schmidt, the Dalai Lama and Yasser Arafat have all stayed there.

However, one guest in the 30's who left a lasting legacy, was the French fashion designer Jean Patou, who though he died nearly 80 years ago is still well known for his women's fragrance 'Joy.' Staying in the hot summer of 1932 he came up with the idea of loose, lightweight trousers for women which would be cool and comfortable during the heat of the day and could also be worn as informal evening wear.

In honour of the hotel, he named his new creation Formentor Pants. With their high waist, straight cut leg, wide bottoms and long flowing look, they were popular with both fashionable visitors to the island and the Hollywood stars of the time. Not only do they look great, but they give extra height to shorter ladies because of their elongated look.

Nowadays known more commonly as Palazzo pants, the look is still going strong and was featured by fashion blogger Scott Schuman in 'The Sartorialist,' when he published the photos of an incredibly fashionable lady, Maria Jose Lozano Asensio, posing in Formentor Pants in the hotel itself. The mountain across the bay of Pollensa can be clearly seen in both our photos....so if you go, you can pretend you're having cocktails with a glamorous star! Hmm, I think Grace Kelly would join me for a Singapore Sling on the terrace (in my dreams)