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Rifle and Super Rifle
Origin: Italy
The down low: The Rifle denim label was founded in the Fifties in Prato, Italy, by brothers Giulio and Fiorenzo Frantini. Today, Rifle can be found in 1,100 stores in Italy and in stores in 17 countries. Rifle and Super Rifle, the premium line, came to the U.S. in 2003, but both are relaunching for fall with new fabrics, finishes and washing techniques. Women worldwide flock to Rifle and Super Rifle for their blend of sexy cuts and vintage-inspired fabrics.

Key looks for fall: Stella boot-cut in abraded black wash by Rifle, and the boot-cut creased jeans in dark stonewash by Super Rifle.

Cost: Rifle wholesales for $48 to $60; Super Rifle, for $60 to $97.

Denim Birds
Origin: Sweden
The down low: It all started when women began snatching up pairs of Nudie Jeans, a men’s premium denim line created by the former head designer of Lee Europe, Maria Erixon, and Palle Stenberg, who defected from Levi’s Europe. In 2003, Erixon and Stenberg launched Denim Birds, a premium denim line, to give women a denim brand to call their own, without wearing the same logo as their boyfriends. Now, they’re making their way to the States.

Key looks for fall: A straight, dark, destroyed style and a tight, dirty vintage style.

Cost: Retails at between $150 and $275.

Richmond Jeans
Origin: Italy
The down low: John Richmond isn’t exactly new to the fashion business. Since 1987, he’s been designing under his own name, producing three lines: John Richmond, the main line; Richmond X, the ready-to-wear collection, and Richmond Denim, the denim line. This fall, Richmond Denim is pushing forward in the U.S. in a big way. The rock ’n’ roll-inspired jeans come in distressed styles and dark washes, such as black and indigo, and are paired with Richmond’s knits, tops, blazers and skirts. Trust Richmond’s rocker credentials: he’s dressed Mick Jagger, Madonna and Annie Lennox.

This story first appeared in the May 26, 2005 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

Key looks for fall: A black, skinny “Rich” jean and a skinny distressed jean with a chain.

Cost: Wholesales for $130 to $280.

Origin: England
The down low: As one of London’s edgier stylists, Lucy Pinter styled regularly for glossies such as Vogue, Harpers Bazaar and GQ, and has styled artists such as Janet Jackson and Neneh Cherry for album covers. Flora Evans has been photographing fashion and music industry A-listers since the mid-Nineties, contributing regularly to Vogue, The Face and The Sunday Telegraph. Together, Pinter and Evans came up with Superfine, what Evans calls, “the antithesis of the overly distressed denim that has been coming out of Los Angeles.” Understated and refined, the washes are clean, and the silhouettes are tough but sexy. Evans said Kate Moss is a “big fan.” Superskinny jeans are their signature.

Key looks for fall: Three-quarter-length pirate jeans.

Cost: The average wholesale price is $73.


Big Sway
Who: Friends and designers Hugh Hayden and Victoria Vaughn
The down low: The collection gets its inspiration from the South, so it makes sense that each key style is named after a Southern belle, such as the EmmyLou, a skinny, peg-leg style designed to fit into cowboy boots, or the Delia, a slouchy, comfy boyfriend style. Big Sway jeans feature detailed embroidery on the back pocket and an embroidered “S” on the front pocket. Added “It” factor: Designer Vaughn’s brother is actor Vince Vaughn.

Key looks for fall: Pearl, the boot cut, and Lucille, a relaxed fit.

Cost: Retails at between $150 and $225.

People of the World
Who: Yves Castaldi
The down low: Castaldi, former designer at Levi’s, Diesel and Buffalo, launched the Los Angeles-based People of the World in January. The collection features denim emblazoned with colorful, diamond-shaped embroidery on the back pockets, signature zigzag stitching and fabric-patch labels. The collection can be found in specialty boutiques nationwide, in addition to boutiques in France, Germany, Italy, Spain, England and Japan. Ad campaigns will hit hip glossies such as Nylon, BlackBook, Flaunt, Paper, Trace and Ocean Drive in late fall.

Key looks for fall: Embroidery and hand-stitched jeans and skinny-leg styles.

Cost: Wholesales for $80 to $125.

Who: Philip Sitbon
The down low: The Paris-born designer moved to Los Angeles in 1997 and produced collections and items for brands such as Bebe, Arden B., Von Dutch and Guess. In the summer of 2004, he launched his own sportswear line, Unconditional, which hit stores in February. Sitbon uses only Italian denim and combines a Parisian fashion-forward aesthetic with a playful casualness — perhaps a nod to his current residence. Big looks for spring include denim shorts that fall just below the knee and wide-flared jeans. For fall, jeans get a bit of an update and are more tailored.

Key looks for fall: Natural, unwashed tailored jeans and full-legged
jeans in the “dirty” wash.

Cost: Wholesales for $99 to $109.

Memphis Blues
Who: Alex Caugant and Philippe Naouri
The down low: Long live The King. Elvis Presley Clothing Co., an affiliate of Blue Concept, is launching Memphis Blues for fall. Under the direction of Paul Guez, the line is designed by Caugant and Naouri, who also design the Antik denim line. Memphis Blues, based in Commerce, Calif., will incorporate images of The King into some of its styles, and since no other company has the right to use images of Elvis and his iconography, authenticity is assured.

Key looks for fall: Embroidered cuff jeans and long jeans.

Cost: Retails at $100 to $120.

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