DENIM DISH

LEVI'S IN PRINT: Levi Strauss is writing its biography.
The 145-year-old San Francisco-based denim manufacturer is compiling a coffee table book to be published later this year by Levi's.
The book traces the history of the brand, from its founding during California's Gold Rush to the present. It will include a foreword by Richard Martin, curator of the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.
In other Levi's news, a slew of the company's execs were in New York Tuesday evening to launch a multimillion-dollar ad campaign for its men's Dockers brand khakis.
As 400 retailers and ad execs nibbled dim sum at Sony Studios on West 54th Street, they could watch the new Dockers TV commercials and "projections"--brief spots that will be projected several stories high on the sides of buildings in various cities.
The campaign is targeting a slightly younger audience than the one that usually wears Dockers. According to Levi's officials, rather than appealing to a man in his 40s, these are aimed at men in their 20s and 30s. Levi's said it will spend $12 million just on the launch.
One of the new 30-second commercials shows a young man crawling after his cat on a building ledge. The crowd below thinks he is a potential suicide. As the camera pans the onlookers, a voice-over reveals what they're thinking. "Maybe I should move my car," says one. There are several versions, but each commercial ends with the campaign's tag line, "Nice pants."
The commercials will break in August and run through Father's Day 1996.
The outdoor spots will be projected every night for one week in September in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles and San Francisco. The exact weeks and locations haven't been determined yet.

THE NAME REMAINS THE SAME: If Gloria Vanderbilt is facing a bunch of tax problems, as published reports Wednesday indicate, they won't be solved even if the jeans and accessories lines that bear her name quadruple their volume.
Jack Gross, president of Gloria Vanderbilt Apparel Corp. in New York, said Vanderbilt sold her name fully to Murjani International Ltd. in the early Eighties, which sold it to Gitano in 1988, which in turn, sold it to Gross and a private investor group in August 1993. Gross said Vanderbilt no longer receives royalties from the use of her name.

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