By  on March 31, 2005

Too many cooks in the kitchen is never a bad thing in the denim market, where there are as many recipes to success as there are jeans lovers. Here, a look at some of the best of the new crop, including the latest denim confections by established designers, labels new to the blue and imports.

THE STRONGHOLD

Who: Michael Paradise and Michael Cassel

Maiden Voyage: Von Dutch Originals, which Cassel founded in 1999. Paradise was fashion director for North Beach Leather.

The Recipe: When Cassel and Paradise say vintage, they mean vintage. Their collection is a relaunch of 1895 denim line The Stronghold. “It was a regional brand to Los Angeles,” Paradise explains. “We thought, This is perfect. That’s where everybody makes their denim now.”

Stats: Eight silhouettes for women, from a cuffed capri to utility worker pants, all of which are constructed from selvage fabric; $285.

PEOPLE OF THE WORLD

Who: Yves Castaldi

Maiden Voyage: Castaldi’s CV reads like a list of who’s who of denim power players: Levi's, Wrangler, Diesel, Buffalo.

The Recipe: The signature diamond star embroideries, zigzag stitching and ultrafrayed fabric patch labels make for a denim collection with a craftier touch.

Stats: Fifteen different styles, including this season’s Western-themed items, complete with Native American embroideries; $160 to $210.

SIWY

Who
: Michelle Siwy

Maiden Voyage: After working for Maurice Malone in the late Nineties, Siwy was hired to revamp the year-old Fractal Jeans in 2002 into a more marketable collection.

The Recipe: Feminine fit (read: curves) meets vintage feed-sack cloth. The waistband dips in the front, the knee is sculpted and the hem curves slightly from back to front for better mobility.

Stats: Five styles for fall, named after Siwy’s sisters and sisters-in-law. The signature slim jean, however, is named after the designer herself; $130 to $185.CB BRAND FOR … CURVED BOTTOMS

Who
: Leslie Ungar

Maiden Voyage: Apple Bottoms Jeans by Nelly.

The Recipe: Three months after licensing out Apple Bottoms Jeans by Nelly (the denim line she started with the multiplatinum-selling rapper), Ungar set her sights on developing a new denim collection that would be as equally derriere-friendly, but for the contemporary market.

Stats: Six different styles, from five-pocket to rhinestones; $130 to $250.

Extra Credit: The CB Brand is also host to charity foundation Style International Source, which raises self-image awareness in the face of eating disorders like anorexia and bulimia.

LIVE LIFE AND LOVE

Who
: Karl Kani

Maiden Voyage: Casual sportswear label Karl Kani.

The Recipe: Denim tricked out with Buddha embroideries, Swarovski accents, crocheted patches and hand-painted floral motifs, among others. “If I were to compare it to a car, a Benz 500 or Bentley, where our jean is the car,” Kani says, “our embellishments are the rims you add on.”

Stats: 15 styles plus the dressier novelty items, like a denim tuxedo; $158 to $230. 

FINS

Who
: Lisa Kingsley

Maiden Voyage: Lisa Kingsley Clothing, a Bali-inspired collection of separates.

The Recipe: The look is sophisticated, clean and classic, with no streaks, abrasions, sandblasts or loud embroidery.

Stats: Nine looks, from the skinny jean to a ruffled pencil skirt; $130 to $249.

J BRAND

Who: Jeff Rudes and stylist Susie Crippen

Maiden Voyage: Paris 2000, a designer denim label Rudes established in the States in the late Seventies. In the early Nineties, he took a stake in the line A. Gold E with Adriano Goldschmeid.

The Recipe: Rudes is looking to re-create, in dark resin-treated stretch fabric, his 1976 slim-fit jean, while tending to one sole mandate: no excess hardware and/or embellishments.Stats: Four styles, from a 20-inch flare to a 14-inch skinny; $140 to $155.

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