By  on June 5, 2008

BEVERLY HILLS — Seeking to build its streetwear-meets-luxury platform in the U.S., Dutch denim brand G-Star on Wednesday mounted Raw Nights, a one-night-only art installation curated by Dennis Hopper.

Occupying a storefront and parking lot in Beverly Hills, the evening was intended to combine an apparel showroom with a screening of Hopper-directed short films and selections of his artwork — billboard photographs the actor took in the Sixties, then altered by graffiti artists — as well as a live installation by his son, Henry, made from recycled denim and found objects.

"This format allows us to interact and communicate with the public," said G-Star chief executive officer Jos van Tilburg. "People don't know until they meet us whether they like us or not."

The first Raw Nights initiative took place this year in Tokyo in collaboration with photographer Hiromix, pop band Duran Duran and Japanese artist Tetsuya Komuro.

"We wanted to develop G-Star into a brand that had the accessibility and attitude of streetwear and a touch of luxury, and this initiative allows us to design and be seen from the inside out," van Tilburg said.

Art was to imitate life as billboard art was brought inside and outside walls became gallery space. Samantha Ronson was set to handle the turntables at the multimedia event.

G-Star collaborated with Hopper on its New York Fashion Week event in February.

"That was when we started a dialogue about photography," van Tilburg said. "Dennis represented an icon for the denim generation, so we had an instant chemistry and found it easy to talk."

In January, the company will launch a higher-end label called Collect Line, consisting of tailored jackets and shirts that reinvent classic styles with a twist. It is also developing an organic clothing line.

Eventually, G-Star hopes to add to its 140 stores worldwide, with plans for major U.S. cities, including Los Angeles and Las Vegas.

"The temperature feels good and we are getting more confident," van Tilburg said. "We don't want to be a one-off. We still want to be here in 20 years' time."

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