In-Jean-ious Designers Redefine Denim

International fashion innovators bow down to the industrial, the ’70s and urban cowboys

Miss Sixty




Text by Nicole de Ayora

From the gold rush to gold records, denim has long served the purpose of decking out those in the pursuit of something great. Punk rock called for the anarchist’s ear, sporting skin-tight (as all hell) jeans, while Californian mountain men traipsed through shallow waters, relying on their heavy cotton 501s for protection from the elements. Designer jeans made their way onto the fashion radar as designers took their looks to the streets to demonstrate how raw materials could be transformed into gold. Now from down under to northern Italy, around the world and in-between, a bevy of denim demons show us how they travel from function to high fashion.

Midnight-blue denim washes over the Dsquared2 Spring/Summer 2009 collection with crisp elegance and urban sophistication in a regal reinterpretation of the Texas tuxedo. Identical three-piece denim suits for men and women with sharp cuts and leather details, plays with an exaggerated center pleat to give the long, denim clad leg a pressed and professional appearance. Legends of low rise and extreme boot-cuts, these identical twins go haute and heavy with high-waisted wear that makes looking chic an effortless aspiration. ’70s street wear from the decadence of disco was a time of high grooming and hot grooving, and this special musicality is realized in these retro spring and summer denim Dsquared2 duds.

Miss Sixty’s Spring/Summer 2009 collection, “New Urban Superheroines,” shows its bohemian retro cuts that counter the resurgence of the tailored, menswear-inspired aesthetic in the shape of 1950s swimsuits, paisley prints and light kaftans. The Italian company, with its illustrious reputation for boho chic, ventures towards a new avenue of self-confident seduction with their Harem jeans. The billowing of a genie pant skated down the runway in both a full-length version, as well as a cropped one. Miss Sixty’s prodigious perception of the “Jill of Many Trades” is demonstrated in dark, slightly stone-washed denim looks that can translate to any occasion, day or night, and gush with an undeniable glamour.

G-Star’s dedication not only to its customers, but also to the world in which we live, is realized in both its philanthropy and its utilitarian denim detailing. For over 20 years, G-Star has produced a serious street-wear look for modern urban soldiers. Jeans that jive both with work apparel appropriateness and nightclub culture charge their Spring/Summer 2009 collection. This season’s “Raw Denim” collection for men remains faithful to its carpenter accents of elongated back pockets, leather detailing and dusky denim washes. The androgynous styles and slimming cuts make a women’s sportswear campaign that redefines flirty fashion. Denim cuts go hand-in-hand with black leather for both jackets and pants with a babe-worthy bravery that exudes strength and success.

Lauded for its luxury and premium quality, Diesel’s “Black Gold” Spring/Summer 2009 denim collection introduces icy, industrial washes and courageous curves, giving fashion rebels a reason to rejoice. Converging on heroines, libertines, and even seafarers, the new denim line turns functionality into the ultimate glamorous affair. Playing with trendy straight cuts and classic sailor looks results in an electric and futuristic trend that transforms the Diesel canon. The intensity of Diesel’s new cool, steely color is as serious as its process, which is an innovative bleaching technique designed for this season’s denim. Diesel tips its feathered-hat to bygone elegance with dark denim-striped side stitching, mimicking the satin side-seam of tuxedo pants. This exciting fusion of the eclectic and the not-yet-seen makes for an exciting line, hip to our fast changing times.

From Chloe Sevigny’s video blog about these babies to their lisping name twittering from the lips of every fashion do-gooder, Ksubi’s tour de force continues to redefine tradition with innovative approaches to the frontiers of denim fashion. Ksubi inspires with a playfulness best revealed in their second-skin, lace-cut, denim straight-leg jeans. A semi-exposed long leg is topped-off by a solid Daisy Duke-cut to hide the Ksubi-clad’s goodies. In the men’s corner, Ksubi plays with soft textures and artistic bleaching on a classically boyish baggy jean. The special attention to color distinguishes these as designer duds while acquainting men’s fashion with a sophisticated urban design. Ksubi has truly orchestrated a symphony of style and wit with a Spring/Summer 2009 line of original looks that will undoubtedly transform denim design as we see it today.