MILAN — The second collaboration between artist Damien Hirst and Levi’s has resulted in three works of art of spin-painted 501 styles and the development of a limited edition collection.
This story first appeared in the October 30, 2008 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The 12-piece Damien Hirst X Levi’s Collection revolves around some of Hirst’s favored themes — skulls, colorful spots and tropical butterflies. Jeans retail for about 180 euros, or $230 at current exchange, with T-shirts at 65 euros, or $83. The collection will be selectively distributed in stores such as Milan’s 10 Corso Como fashion boutique and art space and a few Levi’s flagships, including the recently renovated Berlin unit.
Francesca Dell’Antoglietta, marketing director at Levi Strauss Italia, said the project is “about making art more accessible” and “turning jeans into a work of art.”
Dell’Antoglietta said the three 501 jeans Hirst spin-painted are a reproduction of the original 1947 501 model. Each is valued at 18,000 euros, or $23,040. This is a relative bargain considering Hirst’s work recently fetched 111 million British pounds, or $173.3 million, in a two-day auction, breaking records previously held by Pablo Picasso. One of the three art pieces will show at Corso Como until Nov. 30.
Boutiques Colette in Paris and Cinch in London were chosen to display the other two works. Dell’Antoglietta said a private collector had already picked up Hirst’s custom-framed 501 jeans shown in Paris. Hirst’s work with the 501 also lines up with Levi’s global marketing campaign for the iconic style.
“There are signs that lead us to believe it is opportune for us to relaunch the straight leg, button-fly 501 jeans,” said Dell’Antoglietta, pointing to the contemporary straight leg trend, which, she said, is “strong” in northern Europe. Dell’Antoglietta added that Levi’s realized that twentysomethings have “grown up without being acquainted with this model,” and without knowing its history, or its symbolism.
“We feel it is still relevant today,” she said.