LOS ANGELES — Vintage retailer Cameron Silver wants to add a dose of sophistication and glamour to jeans without the lofty price tags in his new label, Decades Denim.

This story first appeared in the May 6, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Naming his denim debut after his vintage boutique, Decades, which is a haven here on Melrose Avenue for Jean Dessès, Ossie Clark, Cardinalli and other brands, Silver is aiming to streamline jeans for a modern women’s wardrobe. And he’s looking to do it for under $119 at retail.

“I was enthusiastic to give denim a clean aesthetic that would be a foundation for a woman’s personal style,” said Silver. “People are looking for chic day-to-evening clothing. It’s a category that is underdeveloped. We can start developing it through denim and hopefully build a lifestyle brand.”

Decades Denim will begin offering 16 women’s styles for holiday. Priced at $99, $109 and $119, the styles are named after strong, iconic women who have excelled in their respective fields. A stretch velvet style is inspired by Teutonic model Nadja Auermann, while a legging with curved seams on the back pays tribute to modern dance pioneer Martha Graham. Seventies icon Ali MacGraw is the source for cropped cargo jeans, and Marilyn Monroe is the model for cropped cigarette jeans.

Silver picked a two-tone zipper that is shaded in white and yellow gold. Fabrics are sourced mostly from Japan and Thailand. In addition to denim woven with Invista’s T-400 stretch fiber, the line uses a CoolMax fabric that can wick moisture away from the skin. The resin rinses incorporate silicone for a clean look.

“My experience around vintage has made me cultivate a very modern aesthetic,” Silver said. “When you see the collection, there’s nothing retro about it.”

Jack Mccue, the owner of Genetic Denim and an investor in Decades Denim, is helping Silver navigate the complicated denim process. The third partner in the venture is Angelique Soave, who serves as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer.

“It’s very, very difficult to find something simple without a lot of branding or embellishments,” said Soave, who is also the namesake and inspiration for a pocketless skinny style. “We’re just sticking with things that are timeless and classic.”

Silver acknowledges his move into the gritty denim industry seems out of character. Known for donning tuxedos and capes by Azzaro and jewelry by Boucheron, he’s stocked Decades with enchanting gowns. He didn’t wear denim at all for 10 years. However, his interest in denim was rekindled two years ago and he has worn jeans nearly every day since.

Silver’s own denim predilections will mold the look for a men’s line that will launch next spring. Priced similarly to the women’s collection, the men’s jeans will be clean with no distressed or tattered treatments. He plans to offer jackets and shirts, which also will be added along with dresses to the women’s spring lineup.

Silver and his partners projected sales will reach $10 million next year, and they are aiming to land in better boutiques and luxury stores such as Barneys New York, Forty Five Ten in Dallas, Colette in Paris and Dover Street Market in London.

“It’s got to be good enough for the people I know who wear Chanel Couture,” Silver said.

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