Hi georgiagraphic, and thanks for the interesting question.
The zipper began it's journey in the mid-19th century, when a patent
for an "automatic continuous clothing closure" was made by Elias Howe,
inventor of the sewing machine. However, it would be many years before
the zipper had any practical use whatsoever. In the 1890s, the zipper
was tried on children's shoes, and (in some rare cases) on women's
blouses. But it failed miserably, popping open and exposing the wearer
to embarrassment. By the 1910s, an improved zipper was used on some
sportsclothes--but again, it's use was not widespread because the
invention just wasn't up to snuff yet.
It was in 1923 that the name "zipper" was applied to the invention,
and soon thereafter, some designers began using it on women's
clothing. (Schiaparelli, for example, used it at times.) By the late
1930s, the zipper was commonly seen in women's clothing. At that time,
it was always worn on the side (on and above the hip). It wasn't until
about 1949 that the zipper running down the back began to appear.
For more information about the zipper, see "The Evolution of Useful
and "Vintage Fashions for Women: the 1920s--1940s:"
Researcher's personal knowledge
Above mentioned books