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Levi's First Fashion Week: A Banjo, a Bicycle, and the Bootcut Skinny

Posted by Shirley Brady on February 16, 2012 06:06 PM

Levi's launched its first ever global collection during its Fashion Week debut this week. At its New York Fashion Week show, held in Soho, models were shown getting dressed, riding bikes and other vignettes from daily life in addition to walking the runway in key looks from its first official Fall/Winter 2012 collection.

The collection (by head designers Jonathan Kirby and Jill Guenza; see their inspiration boards here) is "based on a more refined and tailored look, for both men and women. The designs were inspired by the idea of craftsmanship, honesty and authenticity — honoring tradition while defying convention, redefining the norm and re-crafting and re-creating iconic Levi's styles."

Levi's — just named one of Fast Company's 50 most innovative companies for its commitment to sustainable manufacturing — added in a blog post that the key trend for men in its first global Fall/Winter 2012 collection "is the tapered look, for a great flattering fit that sits just below the waist, is slouchy on the top and has a slim, tailored leg. For women, the key look for the season is the Bootcut Skinny, which the Levi's brand has completely reinvented."

Another blog post on the show noted, 

Models in various stage of undress showcased a rainbow range of looks from urban camouflage (perfect to blend into the Williamsburg art scene), rustic, rural, hip-hop to blues that weren't boring. All that was missing was the Mason jars. The show was a peek into the closet of every day life, with a male model hopping onto his bike, a woman strutting down the runway in a blues suit (suitable for a career), which was more like a real way of how the collection could fit into a modern life. Who knew Levi's did women's? Who knew they did brights? The international audience crowd was wowed by the classic American looks reinvented for every day life. A Horatio Alger story in the making for a company founded in 1853 by an immigrant with a pocket stitch design.

WWD commented along with its slideshow of looks from the show,

The new vision, which global vice president of creative direction Len Peltier said has been under way for three years, was presented in the company’s first show during New York Fashion Week. For women, that meant working denim in new coated treatments and silhouettes, many which looked more polished and fresh, such as the cropped white button-down shirt shown with a coated A-line skirt. For men, the signature rugged, workwear look was balanced with more refined fits. Hunting and military-inspired outerwear was paired with chambray work shirts and stiff, raw denim and khakis. If the objective of the show was to move the collection beyond the 501, mission accomplished.

Below, Peltier discusses the inspiration and choice of music (banjo player!) for the show with the Wall Street Journal —

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