Tuesday, 20 December 2011

The Balloon's gone up

Denim insiders will know that Levi's in Europe is going going through another restructure: the principal change is that Maurizio Donadi, who created the XX division, but moved to the SF HQ back in the summer, is leaving the company in March. The Sportswearnet story linked here implies that XX is being folded within the current range, run out of San Francisco, but I'm hearing reports that the XX Division in Amsterdam will remain, but that Made and Crafted will be more integrated into the Red Tab line. If that's true it's good news, as otherwise both LVC & M&C might have ended up orphan brands.

Time will tell how this plays out. Any fan of LVC will know that it's a terrific range, plagued by inconsistencies, primarily with sizing. Let's hope these diminish, rather than increase, with another reorganisation. But, while we wait to see what happens, it's worth pointing out that the last few years saw some beautiful products from LVC; unusual, quirky items like the 333 range budget jeans, the Duck jumper and the 1915 501 using an especially nice Cone fabric. But today, I thought I'd bid farewell to XX with one beautiful item that never made it to the shops: the 1920s Balloon Pants.

This was a product that appeared in the LVC Look Book - but which was not ordered in sufficient quantities by retailers to make it to production. Fortuitously, I found a sample  pair, which I sent to my handsome friend Roy6 in San Francisco. Here he models them for our gratification:


They are beautifully-detailed pants - it's a real shame they never made it to production.

Intriguingly, it seems LVC also considered releasing these in a distressed version. This is another sample pair I spotted recently. Everything that I like about the dry pair, I dislike about these - LVC have shown some terrific distressing, but both the finishing and the choice of subject on these seems off.

In the meantime, those beautifully-detailed originals stand as a great example of LVC - great work, arguably too esoteric, definitely under-appreciated.


  1. It'll be interesting to see how LVC evolves. The brand's strong point has always been the pieces like the balloon pants and 333s. Unfortunately, as we see with the balloon pants, the bread-and-butter of the brand is selling last-half-of-the-20th-century 501s. Not a knock on these 501s, the ubiquity of the design and all the simulacra in the market is a testament to the power of that design. I hope the latest changes don't result in fewer and fewer reproductions of pieces like the balloon pants, spring bottoms and 333s.

    I was also hoping that the lot 66s pants, and the design concept behind those, would've caught on. I think that was a fun and logical direction for the brand.

  2. Indeed. The Lot 66 happen to be my favourite item of the past couple of years - altho LVC have done customised, "resewn" versions of classic pants in the past, these were some of the most inspired. Can't wait to put my (sale) pair on if the British summer ever arrives.

  3. Anyone here know if there's an online shop that sells most of the women's LVC line? There are a few online shops that sell one or two items, usually shirts, and that's about it. The LVC website isn't much help either, and most of their online stockists carry nothing from the line. Thank you for any help.

  4. Anonymous, if you are confident about sizing and the product you are looking for, you can call the San Francisco store (phone # on the LVC site) and they'll mail it to you (at least they would a few years ago).