Welcome to Denim in Film! Check back weekly for movie stars looking amazing in their jeans (or other denim garments). Photo via Modcloth
Grace Kelly brings to mind chic evening gowns and princess-worthy elegance. But she was revolutionary in the 1954 film Rear Window co-starring Jimmy Stewart when she wore a men’s shirt, blue jeans and brown loafers. It’s her final outfit of the film, and on her, the toned-down look is utterly smoldering. The ensemble may be boyish, but she has clearly added her own personal feminine flair to the look. Remember the scene below? It’s just before she swaps out the book for the latest issue of Harper’s Bazaar.
Being a San Franciscan, I always took pride in the fact that jeans were invented right here in my hometown. But what I never knew is that, technically, jeans were invented in Reno by a tailor named Jacob Davis.
Levi Strauss had a dry goods and clothing importing business in San Francisco, when Davis, a regular customer, shared with him his rivet-reinforced denim “waist overalls.” He didn’t have the money to file for a patent, so he suggested that Strauss become his partner. They were granted the patent together, and Davis oversaw the manufacturing operation, according to History.com.
If you happen to be in Reno, an exhibit that opened this week at the National Automobile Museum titled “Denim: Cool Rags and Rides,” honors Davis, and features a collection of rare blue jeans from the late 1800s to the early 1900s. Bonus: an early 1970s special AMC “Levi’s” edition of the Gremlin, complete with denim-upholstered will also be on display.
The exhibit will run through November 6—let me know if you make it there!
Closed may be known for its denim, but the brands designers don’t seem to be satisfied with focusing only on jeans, if the Spring 2015 lookbook is any indication. The high-waisted jeans remind me so much of Girbaud circa 1986, anyone remember that brand? They were the most expensive, most coveted jeans at the time. Just one girl in my high-school owned them.
In any case, I’m loving the military-inspired pants here, as well as the high waists and tapered ankles. See the entire lookbook here.
The latest Calvin Klein Jeansad campaign is typically provocative, bringing both sexting and threesomes to the table. For me, it’s a bit of an insight into that confusing demographic called millennials. This is all normal to them… or maybe it was always normal to everyone, but now it’s just down in black and white? One of the sexters asserts: “A light threesome never hurt anyone.” Reading that and the rest of these (fictional) texts makes me glad texting and social media did not exist when I was a twenty-something.
Self-Edge, a San Francsco-based retailer of rare and special raw denim, has a new lookbook titled Lost Island. In addition to denim, the lookbook highlights men’s and women’s shirts and accessories with a distinctive urban beach feel. If you like what you see, you can also find the retailer in New York City, Portland and Los Angeles.
I was a bit giddy when I visited one of my favorite fashion blogs, Lust for Life, and blogger Olivia Lopez had published a post highlighting her Paigedeconstructed jeans. I love this casual, beachy look with a chunky gray sweater (always necessary where I live in the Bay Area), and New Balance sneakers. It’s one of those posts that makes me want to just insert myself into her life for a minute. Check out the rest of her denim looks here!
Indigo originally came from the Indigofera plant, a member of the pea family. But it’s really hard to extract the blue hue from its leaves. So, because the color is so coveted (for blue jeans and other garments and products), scientists came up with a way to synthesize indigo artificially. That process, though, releases chemicals that pollute water and harm fish if not handled properly.
People used to make the blue dye by extracting it from plants. But as demand for the dye grew, so too did chemists’ know-how. By the late 1800s, German scientists had figured out how to synthesize indigo from chemicals in the lab. Their plant-free approach was faster and allowed for factories to make huge amounts. Today, factories churn out some 36,000 kilograms (about 40,000 tons) of indigo per year — just for blue jeans. That’s roughly the weight of 6,000 African elephants!
To avoid the toxic runoff, scientists have been working on a cleaner way to produce indigo dye. Researchers at the University of California at Berkeley recently made some progress in that direction. They genetically engineered a bacteria to produce the indigo dye—it’s less toxic than the current process, but not efficient enough yet. The scientists have four years left on their grant, so fingers crossed they’ll figure it out by then! Read all the science-y details here.
Earlier this month, Levi’s launched a new collection of women’s denim with singer Alicia Keys as the spokeswoman.
“When you are authentically yourself, you are so gorgeous and powerful, Keys says in a statement. “I’ve come to the revelation that I’m just a jeans girl at heart. I feel the most confident, comfortable, sexy and strong in my jeans.” A woman after my own heart.
Levi’s says on its website: “Creating the perfect fittingjeans for each body type is no small undertaking. The Levi’s® team traveled the globe, getting input from real women. And they tapped into the latest fabric innovations and slimming technologies, the most advanced stretch and recovery, signature authentic Levi’s® details and world-class finishing.”
The collection includes a 700 series, which are super skinny and slim, a 300 shaping series, a 300 plus shaping series, a 400 relaxed series, a 500 icons series, and and 800 curvy series. All that adds up to a whole freaking log of Levi’s women’s styles. Interestingly, there’s not much evidence of Levi’s jumping on any trend bandwagons, namely the lust for everything seventies that’s everywhere at the moment. I try not to fall for trends too obviously or often, but I have to say if Levi’s came out with an amazing high-rise fell-bottom, I would snap those up in a jiffy.
If, like me, you’re wondering what happened to the Curve ID series, it has apparently morphed into the 700 series, if this Google listing is to be trusted:
Remember I told you guys back in April about Talley, a custom-made denim line that let’s you track the making of your jeans every step of the way? Don’t worry if you don’t, that’s what archives are for Check out the post here, which includes an interview with Ben Talley Smith, the brand’s founder and designer. And if you like Talley jeans, you’ll be happy to know that the brand has just launched an “instantly available” line of jeans for both men and women. That means you get the same high quality you got from the custom versions, but they’re ready and waiting to ship to you right now. Personally I’m loving the LOLA high-rise slim. The men’s instantly available styles are pretty great too, check them out!
I am loving this season’s ombre denim offerings. I’ve been in love with indigo ombre denim for quite a while, and now these colorful denim ombre styles are calling my name. They’re slightly less hippie than tie-dye, but still have a summery, laid-back feel.
While I was “researching this post,” i.e. shopping, I found several ombre denim, AKA dip-dye, DIY how-tos. This one from Honestly WTF is pretty straightforward and obviously a great option if you’re on a budget. But if you’re lazy like me and/or money is no object, shop away below!
Jeans aren’t just for T-shirts anymore. You can wear denim with anything and for nearly any occasion—it's all about the styling. eat, sleep, denim is about the woman who likes to dress up in her favorite jeans every day of the week.
Eat, Sleep, Denim's editor is Kristen Philipkoski, a writer and editor in the San Francisco Bay Area who also blogs at Stylenik. Email her at eatsleepdenim at gmail dot com.