Thursday, July 9, 2015

Having Rested Long on Its Laurels, Levi’s – With Its New Women’s Denim Collection – Positions Itself to Retake Its Place as King of Jeans … New York Fashion Week: Men’s. It’ll Keep.

The 715 Bootcut from Levi's. Photo by Yours Truly.

IT stands out from the crowd. Not to loose, not too tight. Just right. It skims the body from rear to ankle rather than squeezes hard enough to cut off circulation. The legs begins to spread their wings – so to speak – just above the ankle. Just so. Emphatically navy blue.

Introducing 715 Bootcut. It is a member of Lot 700, the new Women’s Denim Collection from that old chestnut, Levi Strauss & Co. aka Levi’s.

The bootcut is joined by 710 Super Skinny, 711 Skinny, 712 Slim, 714 Straight and 721 High Rise Skinny.

The six styles in the Lot 700 series began rolling out in stores in North America yesterday and continue in August. Levi’s, the world’s oldest maker of jeans and the world’s first maker of jeans for women, celebrated the North American launch a couple of nights ago in New York City with a soiree at an event space in the Soho quarter.

This new women’s collection is a big deal for Levi’s – the first of its kind in decades. In fact, Lot 700 is named for that first pair of jeans created for women in the 1930s.

It is a cornerstone of the company’s initiative to reassert itself in a niche that now has endless players. Not just among emerging brands, but also high-end designers. Just like fragrances, seemingly everyone has his/her name affixed to denim.

Levi's women: Tali Lennox, Petra Collins, Jillian Hervey, Joan Jett, Marloes Horst, Erin Wasson, Leigh Lezark, Phoebe Collings-Jam. Photo by Benjamin Lozovsky/

Of course, only time will tell whether Levi’s is up to the challenge, for not only is there the infernal competition, there is the matter of sagging jeans sales.

There is a swarm of people around Joan Jett. The launch is also celebrated with an exhibit of several iconic women photographed by Petra Collins wearing a style from Lot 700. There is no getting in a word edgewise.

The photo exhibit features a motley bunch. Likewise, the Lot 700 series target market. Team Levi’s took itself off to various corners on the globe to talk to women of various shapes, sizes and colors about their lives, their style, their way of being. And to them what befits a comfortable, stylish, durable pair of jeans.

It is these conversations that largely inform the series. For instance, every style is infused with some degree of lycra, making it all the more easy for the jeans to fit women of widely different body types from small to large, from short to tall – within reason, of course.

“They should have had a plus-size model wearing them,” responds a wag to my query about her thoughts on 710 Super Skinny.

Earlier, Yours Truly suggested as much to the model wearing them. The style does give one a very svelte silhouette. Not only does the model look thinner than Size 0 though, she also looks about 5’5.” Someone saddles her 5’7” frame next to the alleged 5’10” to confirm her height. She does not stretch the truth.

She and her five colleagues, she discloses, are all wearing the same size in their respective style. Size 26, for the waist.

On stage is Lion Babe, a band fronted by Jillian Hervey. Performing several songs, including “Jump Hi” and “Wonder Woman” from the duo’s self-titled EP, JH is more famously known as a daughter of Vanessa Williams. (See video above).

The Levi's Lot 700 series. Photo by Yours Truly.

The daughter of the singer-actress is slinking about the small stage quite comfortably in what looks to be the 714 Straight. The sound is a fusion of soul/techno/pop. Thoroughly danceable and not taxing on the brain. Perfect for this venue.

The not-so-disgruntled-but-certainly-not-happy wag seems somewhat mollified about the faux pas featuring the already-skinny model in the super skinny jeans when it is disclosed to her that Alicia Keys is on Team Levi’s.

The Grammy winner has curves. She who would be considered plus-size in model terms. She is also one of the brand ambassadors for the company’s female-focused Live in Levi’s Fall-Winter 2015 campaign.

Handily, enough hanging on the walls around the space are posters of brand ambassadors Kavka, Ryn Weaver and, AK. All are got up in a style from Lot 700. AK looks to be wearing the 721 High Rise Skinny.

Alicia Keys, in a promotional poster, lends her singing voice and name to the Live in Levi's Fall-Winter 2015 campaign. Photo of poster by Yours Truly.

“When you are authentically yourself, you are so gorgeous and powerful. 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,” the singer-songwriter has said in Levi’s promotional materials.

“Levi’s is for every woman … there is something for everyone … much like music, Levi’s brings people together from all walks of life and cultures.”

Visit to learn more about the new Women's Denim Collection and the Live in Levi's Fall-Winter 2015 campaign.

Arriving Not a Moment Too Late, New York Fashion Week: Men's

It's true. Men's fashion week is coming. Photo from CFDA Web site.

EVERYBODY loves a show. A spectacle. For no other reason it will be a success. The it being New York Fashion Week: Men’s, brought to the world by the CFDA and various sponsors.

It marks the first time in the United States that a fashion showcase beyond that of emerging designers is being dedicated exclusively to men’s fashion. Of course, the idea has been bandied about for some years. Thanks to a surge in sales of men’s clothing and accessories, as well as the digital revolution, its time has come.

It steps off next week Monday (13 July through 16 July). The hub is Skylight Clarkson Square, an event space in an industrial quarter of the Soho section. However, numerous shows and presentations will be at other venues in southern Manhattan.

In July. When the buyers are buying men's wear. Not in September (or February) when they are spending on women's wear.

“American menswear has never been stronger or more creative,” Steven Kolb, CEO of the Council of Fashion Designers of America, said in the official announcement of men’s fashion week in February.

This begs the question, why getting sponsors on board for this enterprise was akin to pulling teeth. As late as December, it was not at all clear that New York Fashion Week: Men’s was going to be. As late as January. Of all of the conjecture on this subject, the most credible is a fear of failure. No one wants to be the first aboard a maiden voyage that might sink. It's not good for business. Thanks to Amazon, Cadillac and a few others.

It is fitting that men will now have their own “week” a couple of times a year. Because seeing men’s fashion shows listed during women’s fashion week … It was never a good look. It never felt right. Never has it been a convenient proposition for the media.

Now, U.S. men’s fashion designers can stay home if they choose instead of traipsing to Europe to show their wares. Emerging and mid-career designers, who don't tend to have such large travel budgets, can show at home.

“There are many reasons the CFDA is launching New York Fashion Week: Men’s,” continued SK. “It gives the designers a business platform to show during their market dates and is an opportunity to demonstrate the collective talent of an important segment of our industry.”

New York Fashion Week: Men’s is an intimate affair – around 40 designers. It’s a good business model: start modestly, then build from there. No need to try to match the hundreds-strong shows that is the women’s juggernaut. After all, women's didn't happen overnight.

It is also fitting that New York Fashion Week: Men's is somewhat democratic. Emerging designers like David Hart and John Elliott get to show along lions like John Varvatos, the week's closer. Here, too, are Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger, the latter a vocal proponent of a men’s showcase.

Mid-career types likes Malan Breton also figure in the mix. For S/S16, the Taiwan-born designer is inspired by beach life, surfing and the Hakka culture of his native land. Though not on the official schedule, MB is also screening the documentary, “Malan Breton: A Journey to Taiwan.” It took the prize in the best short documentary category in May at the NYCIFF (New York City International Film Festival; see video above).

For S/S15, David Hart was inspired by Palm Springs. Could another city, the one hosting the inaugural men's fashion week in the United States, inform S/S16? Stay tuned? Photo from David Hart Web site.

A few colleagues notwithstanding, who figuratively held their noses before intoning that they don’t cover men’s fashions, New York Fashion Week: Men’s won’t be put to shame as some detractors have predicted. Next July, will be bigger than this year. The shows in January will be bigger, too. New York will have the success that London has enjoyed.

And why not? We now live in an environment where tastemakers, buyers and the public demand a runway show or presentation. Where we have been fed a steady diet of fashion through “Project Runway” and other fashion-related reality shows. More important, we live in a digitized world where there is a hunger to constantly know what’s new now. Men’s fashion benefits from this uber-exposure, too.

The first day of New York Fashion Week: Men's opens late morning (til noon) with simultaneous presentations - Cadet, Boyswear, CWST, the aforesaid DH, Garciavelez and Plac - at Soho's Industria Studios. Also at Industria are simultaneous evening presentations, from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m.: Carlos Campos, Chapter, Eponymovs by Hvrminn, Fingers Crossed, Kenneth Ning and Matiere.

I repeat, “Everybody likes a show.” There won’t be many empty seats/open spaces at the various venues over four days next week during New York Fashion Week: Men’s.

Visit to learn more about New York Fashion Week: Men’s, including shows and show times.

No comments :

Post a Comment

Creative Commons License
VEVLYN'S PEN: The Wright take on life by Vevlyn Wright is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License .
Based on a work at .
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at .