Shorter than a Capri and with a slightly wider leg, the pedal pusher was created by DeDe Johnson. Her motivation was at least partly practical: The L.A. designer wanted to help ensure that a lady’s skirts wouldn’t get caught in her bicycle chain.
Johnson is credited with several other fashion firsts, including the divided skirt and clam diggers. But it was the pedal pusher that took off in the 1950s after it was worn by teen idols Sandra Dee and Annette Funicello, as well as by Hollywood stars such as Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe. Johnson is counted among those California apparel makers who helped popularize sportswear nationally. “They took advantage of our year-round good weather and our suburban lifestyle to create clothing that was light, easy to wash, easy to care for and fashionable,” says Kaye Spilker, a curator of costume and textiles at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. Johnson made a splash in other ways too, once tumbling off the rim of the Grand Canyon, where a fashion show was being held. She landed on a ledge 50 feet below, unhurt.
Written by vintagechemist