In honour of the new Marques Almeida collaboration with Topshop, we chart our top denim moments in popular culture
Marques Almeida X Topshop
Denim has been at the forefront of fashion for decades. Jeans as we know them were born in the USA, in the late 19th century, when Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis used denim reinforced with copper rivets to make appropriate trousers and overalls for workmen. In the 1950s said jeans were launched into popular culture thanks to James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause, but his influence was considered such a corrupting influence on youths that jeans were banned in schools, theatres and restaurants throughout the decade.
It sure seems silly to think that denim was considered frightening all those years ago, with the place it now occupies as a beacon of popular culture. The recent renaissance in 90s influenced fashion has seen denim in all its guises make a fierce comeback, an upcoming highlight being Topshop’s collaboration with Marques Almeida, which drops to much fanfare tomorrow morning, featuring every possible item of clothing in denim: from jackets and shorts to dresses and tee-shirts. In honour of this denim revival, we thought it apt to chart our seven best denim moments in popular culture, from Irish popstrels to rising stars and runaways.
The Irish popstrels took the denim love to a whole new level in the video for their 1998 hit “C’est La Vie”. Working the double denim matching jean and jacket combo, their killer dance routine made for entertainment at many a ’90s slumber party.
Justin and Britney
Posh and Becks certainly made a good stab at the whole his’n’hers-outfits thing, but the winners of that particularly niche pursuit would have to be Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears at the MTV Awards, turning up in glorious matchy-matchy all-denim-everything ensembles. (So brightly is this moment burned into the public consciousness that every person asked for ideas for this article mentioned JT & Brit first.)
(Special mention to Katy Perry and Riff Raff, though, for copying the look earlier this year.)
Kevin Amato for Rollacoaster
Now we’re not ones to brag, but we thought Kevin Amato’s editorial for the last issue of Rollacoaster “Portraits in Denim” was a stunning example of how anyone can use the versatility of denim to create looks that are both wearable and high fashion, without losing touch with their own personal style.
Mark Wahlberg and Kate Moss for Calvin Klein
Ms Moss famously lives by the rule “never explain, never complain” however in a rare candid moment she has spoken about the awkwardness of this shoot, done early in her career, with the then-badboy Marky-Mark Wahlberg (of ‘the Funky Bunch’ fame), saying: “I had a nervous breakdown when I was 17 or 18, when I had to go and work with Marky Mark [Wahlberg] and Herb Ritts. It didn’t feel like me at all. I felt really bad about straddling this buff guy. I didn’t like it. I couldn’t get out of bed for two weeks. I thought I was going to die.” The experience may have been less than pleasant, but the resulting images changed the face of fashion history, introducing Kate, and her then ‘heroin chic’ coined look, into the mainstream.
Chanel Fall 2006 Couture
Totally repurposing the origins of denim, for Chanel’s AW06 Couture show Karl Lagerfeld sent his models down the catwalk in streamlined silhouettes, layering thigh-high denim boots under dresses and skirts, adding a whole new item to the denim-lovers collection: the jean-shoe.
Thelma and Louise
Not only did T&L introduce us to girl power, Brad Pitt and selfies, but the film also showcases some truly awesome examples of how to pull off mom jeans and double denim. Seriously – go back and delve: it’s a fountain of denim-spiration.
…and finally: Absolutely Fabulous
As much as we love denim, it’s safe to sat it doesn’t always go to plan… Before we finish we’ll leave you with a classic example of double denim done wrong, as worn by Ab Fab’s Jennifer Saunders. Wagwan, Brixton.