Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

The self-making jeans

Balmain has produced a pair of jeans which cost £1059 - there they are, above. Here's Sarah Mower offering Balmain's explanation of the art of making distressed jeans.

Take two: Monday morning and I find myself at Alexis Mabille's show in Paris, sitting next to a woman in a Balmain tennis-ball shouldered jacket and faded black skinny jeans. She is the beautiful, cool, 30-something Emmanuelle Alt, a French Vogue stylist who is the muse-consultant to Christophe Decarnin, Balmain's man of the moment.

I ask her about the recession-defying price of the hit house denim. "Oh, yes, they are so expensive," she agrees, but goes on to explain that they're all hand-made and every last rip is finished in the atelier. "There are so many processes, the dyeing, the washing, the fraying." All this could be done at a fraction of the cost in China. "But, you know, it is all made in France." (Note to the outraged: can keeping skilled workers in Europe in employment be a bad thing?)

Then the big question jumped out of my mouth: what jeans was she wearing? I'm sure Alt has plenty of Balmain denim at her disposal, but that wasn't what she had on the other morning. " Oh, Topshop," she shrugged. "Really old."

I looked over and noticed they were developing a little hole above the knee.


phyllis said...

I’m not at all surprised to see that those Balmain jeans are in fact rigorously made to haute couture standards even though they visually look like a cat tore them to shreds. When the distressed look was big a few years ago I made a faux Chanel jacket with raw edges and all that, and it was surprisingly difficult to make a garment merely look like its all tatty and falling part while producing something that can actually be worn without fear that a sleeve will fall off (or in the case of those jeans, the seat will split open). The construction process was completely counter to the way a conventional garment is made.

Duchesse said...

Find an out of work person your size. Buy a pair of Levi's and pay her the price of the Balmain jeans to wear them every day for 5-6 months, then give to you. You will have distressed jeans and your conscience.

Anonymous said...

Duchesse - back to 1980: I had a pair of new, blistering, Doc Marten boots. My friend didn't have enough money for new boots she needed. She took mine, broke them in for a few months. We saved each others feet.

Tara Germain said...

Emmanuelle Alt is one of the most stylish women on the planet and the fact that she's opting for jeans from Toppie might mean that even she thinks the Balmain distressed ones are little 'de trop'. Or maybe they were in the wash that day.

badmomgoodmom said...

"Premium denim", completely made in the Los Angeles region, run about $200-300. Are the wages in Europe so much higher than in LA?