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Luxury Fashion: Denim Trends to Love or Leave

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I recently had a conversation with a friend who was repping a line of hand painted denim jeans and jean jackets that sold for $750 – $1500 and it got me to thinking, just how did “regular jeans” transition from a workday staple into luxury fashion phenomena?

Luxury fashion denim streetstyle trends are trending towards heavily embellishments

Luxury fashion and denim streetstyle trends are trending towards heavy embellishments

Denim Trends: Luxury Fashion for Everyone

Denim may be the most democratic fabric on the fashion scene today, with denim jeans equally at home with boots and a flannel shirt on the working ranch hand or with heels and a crisp blazer on a New York socialite.  But just where did jeans get their start and what has fueled their explosion across the various fashion sectors and into the highest realms of luxury fashion?

Celebrities like Rihanna love the luxury fashion denim and fur look

Celebrities like Rihanna love the denim and fur look

In 2013 Rihanna set off a double denim craze

In 2013 Rihanna set off a double denim craze with this look

Gigi Hadid echoing the luxury fashion denim trend

Gigi Hadid echoing the denim as luxury fashion trend

1982 ads like this Marlboro Cowboy ad solidified cowboys with sturdy denim

1982 ads like this Marlboro Cowboy ad solidified cowboys with sturdy denim

Heels and a crisp blazer are a New York socialite staple look

Heels and a crisp blazer are a New York socialite staple look

Classic fashion denim brands like Levi's are also making a huge return to market

Classic denim brands like Levi’s are also making a huge return to market

In 1873 Jacob W. Davis, a tailor from Nevada, added rivets to reinforce his sturdy cotton twill pants creating denim jeans that provided a strong and durable work pant for laborers, miners and ranchers.  And so the denim jean category was born.  But over the years, denim has become a creative canvas for designers in every sector of the fashion industry, with some of the most interesting and extraordinary (and costly) adaptations coming in the luxury fashion category.

Jacob Davis, above, spawned a lifestyle when he invented the riveted work pant that later became known as Levi’s jeans, as evidenced by the display at the Scheels store in Sparks. The display is part of the area’s celebration of Davis’ contribution to denim history. Jacob Davis photo courtesy of Nancy Finken.

Jacob Davis, above, spawned a lifestyle when he invented the riveted work pant that later became known as Levi’s jeans, as evidenced by the display at the Scheels store in Sparks. The display is part of the area’s celebration of Davis’ contribution to denim history. Jacob Davis photo courtesy of Nancy Finken from Nevada Magazine

Basic jeans have gone through many iterations through the years, some much better than others.  Traditionally colored blue with indigo dye (thus the term blue jeans), innovations in technology and fabrications have expanded the possibilities of denim. From sulfur dyeing that allows for jeans to be produced in a rainbow of colors, to a variety of washes, fits and detail work the possibilities for denim are virtually limitless.  In some cases the design drivers are easy to discern.  Distressed looks, acid washes, stretch fits, embroideries and the variety of silhouettes easily make their marks and differentiate styles.  But it may be harder to identify the sartorial touches, the luxury details and the exceptional tailoring that catch the attention of the savvy luxury fashion buyer.  In some cases, the luxury adaptations have worked well, such as the tremendously popular fur-trimmed denim jacket.  In others, such as the previously mentioned hand painted jeans, practical considerations have come into play (after all, how do you clean these and maintain the hand-painted design?)

Street Style from London's Fall 2017 Men's Fashion Week showcasing luxury fashion denim

Street Style from London’s Fall 2017 Men’s Fashion Week showcasing denim as luxury fashion option

Overly distressed luxury fashion denim

Overly distressed denim. Hot or hmm?

Overly distressed luxury fashion denim

R-13 apron overlay distressed jeans

Vetements and Levi's just paired up to lauch their Ripped Butt Jeans as part of their luxury fashion denimn

Vetements and Levi’s just paired up to launch their Ripped Butt Jeans

The more "respectable" view of the Vetements and Levi's Ripped Butt luxury fashion denim

The more “respectable” view of the Vetements and Levi’s Ripped Butt luxury fashion

DSquared Inside Out Icon luxury fashion denim

DSquared Inside Out Icon pair of jeans

Roberto Cavalli beaded fringes cropped luxury fashion denim

Roberto Cavalli Spring 2017 beaded fringes cropped luxury denim

House of Holland Spring 2017 luxury fashion denim

House of Holland Spring 2017 embellished luxury fashion denim

Christopher Kane pansy embroidered wide-leg luxury fashion denim Spring 2017

Christopher Kane pansy embroidered wide-leg luxury fashion denim choice for Spring 2017

Christopher Kane patchwork luxury fashion denim Spring 2017

Christopher Kane patchwork denim Spring 2017

Suspender jeans from 2015 which cost 750 luxury fashion denim

Suspender jeans from 2015 which cost $750

A recent review of the online offering of women’s jeans from Neiman Marcus brought up 622 options ranging from a skinny jean by rag & bone for $325 to the embroidered denim flare-leg pant with studs from Gucci for $2500 or the embroidered crop jean from Alexander McQueen for $3795.  This is, in itself, a testament to how widely accepted jeans are today for dressing across a broad variety of dayparts and occasions.  And, while the offerings for men may not be as wildly diverse, jeans can put the guys at the top of their style game whether for casual wear or, with a blazer and a crisp shirt for the office or an evening out.

Rag & Bone Dre Distressed & Repaired Mid-Rise Skinny luxury fashion Jeans, Ada Brigade sold at Neiman Marcus

Rag & Bone Dre Distressed & Repaired Mid-Rise Skinny luxury fashion Jeans, Ada Brigade sold at Neiman Marcus

Alexander McQueen Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear collection copme from their luxury fashion line

Alexander McQueen Spring 2017 Ready-to-Wear collection

Gucci denim flare-leg pant with studs are a part of their luxury fashion line

Gucci denim flare-leg pant with studs

Lutz Huelle 2017-2018 Fall Autumn Winter luxury fashion denim

Lutz Huelle 2017-2018 Fall Autumn Winter

Balmain – Spring/Summer 2017 luxury fashion denim

Balmain – Spring/Summer 2017

Alves/Gonçalves | Fall Winter 2017/2018 luxury fashion denim

Alves/Gonçalves | Fall Winter 2017/2018 luxury fashion in denim

Off-White 2017-2018 Fall Autumn Winter luxury fashion denim

Off-White fall-winter 2017-2018 runway show

Christopher Shannon 2017-2018 Fall Autumn Winter luxury fashion denim

Christopher Shannon 2017-2018 Fall Autumn Winter

Balmain – Spring/Summer 2017 luxury fashion denim

Balmain – Menswear Spring/Summer 2017

Gucci Resort 2017 luxury fashion denim

Gucci Resort 2017

Emporio Armani Fall 2017- Winter 2018 luxury fashion denim

Emporio Armani – Milan Fashion Week – Fall/Winter 2017-2018

How Far is Too Far with Luxury Denim?

Recently TopShop generated much debate when they introduced their new Clear Panel Mom jeans featuring a clear plastic panel at the knees.  The internet response was immediate and harsh, with many declaring this new style trend the “worst of all time”.  While the trademark high-waist and light rinse of earlier “mom” jeans had already created consternation, this new design trend may have taken things just a bit too far.  Let’s face it, the knees are not exactly the most attractive body part.  And now, taking it one step further, they have introduced a completely transparent pair of polyurethane plastic jeans for $100 that bares all.  It is akin to wearing a terrarium around your legs.  They are not alone in their outrageousness, however.  Nordstrom’s has recently introduced a new line of jeans covered in fake mud…for a mere $425.  Now that’s one dirty little secret!

Clear Panel Mom jeans are luxury fashion Denim that nobody is loving

Clear Panel Mom jeans from TopShop are luxury fashion that nobody is loving

Topshop's completely clear plastic "denim"

TopShop’s completely clear plastic “denim”

Fake mud covered jeans sold at Nordstrom are a part of their luxury fashion line

Fake mud covered jeans sold at Nordstrom

Fake mud covered jeans sold at Nordstrom are a part of their luxury fashion line

And, they even had the nerve to create a matching mud denim jacket

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