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Denim “Couture”: When Jeans Are More Than Jeans

Innovation is the life blood of fashion, even when we re-hash past trends to make them appealing again. Designers push limits, test waters, and take chances. And in the denim industry, that’s one taboo that gets people excited. To the average consumer, denim = jeans, vests, jackets, and the occasional hat or bag. But with each passing year of denim’s reign, denim-born garments are breaking the mold, and the results are a mixed bag…


Above, Kamila Hansen wears a denim shawl that looks like a cross between a complex couture piece and a denim jacket with its sleeves stuffed underneath it. She poses for Of the Moda #15, photographed by Jonathan Wolpert—and that’s all very interesting, but the real question is… would you wear it? We decided we might, if there was some fierce acid wash involved. Keep asking yourself that question with each denim creation below, as we peruse the best and the worst non-conventional uses of our favorite fiber!


1. We give this design props for being a big epic, runway worthy gown of denim that looks like it has solid construction and a great fit, but otherwise… what would you do with this after a few photo shoots?

2. Hot-as-hell Jean Paul Gaultier denim looks that we haven’t been able to get over since it hit the runway for spring 2010. The rough edged texture and street wear vibe was an exemplary use of alt-denim.

3.  There is potential in the bodice of this denim gown, sans-sleeves. And forget the epic skirt. Sara Li-Chou Han designed it with the environment in mind, but it’s probably the most needlessly alarming item in the collection.

4. Probably the most awesome use of denim we’ve seen, our favorite new skinnies included. All we can think when we look at this denim kimono is, how heavy must this thing be?

5. This denim design does qualify for an exhibitionist or pop star’s attention grabbing attire, so it gets credit for being a performer’s piece and thus somewhat useful, but falls completely short of aesthetic appeal.

6. We really don’t comprehend denim wedding gowns, but apparently enough ladies do, so there’s some sort of market for them. It gives a new meaning to “princess seams”, doesn’t it?

—Michelle Christina Larsen

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Posted Feb 03 2011 in Denim Fashion » Trend Alert
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