Thursday, 26 January 2012

LVC preview, spring-summer 2012

I had a quick run-through of the new LVC season in their London showroom, which included a couple of the nicest items they've produced in years.

The short version of what I heard is that recent tales that XX is being watered down, or absorbed into the corporate behemoth, seem to be a gross exaggeration. There will be a distribution change, but XX will remain in Amsterdam - and, better still, there's more intriguing stuff on the way. Judging by some of the items I saw here - particularly the one I'll detail last of all. - they're roaring back with a vengeance.

I've presented some of the items that caught my eyes below. The two themes are 1960s Ivy League, and 1920s.

These Ivy League-theme items include:

• 50s-style Navy smock, inspired by photos of a student wearing something similar in T.Hayashida's recent Ivy League reprint
• Varsity cardigan
• some lovely 60s striped Tees
• 60s Hawaiian shirts
• a 605 skinny orange tab repro. It's great to see those back - I've seen complaints because these include elastane, but the denim looks great in the flesh, pretty close to the original, very flecky, Open End denim of the original jeans. You also have those lovely, hokey shallow pockets and pale stitching People always bang on about the 501, but this is a distinctive, classic silhouette - I have a real soft spot for these rivet-less cheapies...
• 60s tote based on a recently-found deadstock original.
The originals were designed for LS&Co by a San Francisco design house called Now - they came up with hats, aprons, and this bag, all with Cone denim and a bright red handle or binding. There's something very cheery (or is it cheesy) about these items - which the repro manages to capture. 

I also spotted a pretty impressive wash: Rumble, a 1944 jean:

The 1920s items looked good too. The Lot 66 bib overalls are back in the range, in a wash named Chapel Hill, as are the Balloon Pants - turns out that pair I spotted earlier are for this season - the finish is named Found. I might have liked these, were I not in mourning for the raw version. The third item is a pair of 1960 cinchback Chinos.

Apart from that one special edition I mentioned earlier, my favourite earlier item was the Sunset Shirt with Bow Tie. Very Oh Brother Where Art Thou...

Some of these items are in stores already, others will follow.

And now, tada, my favourite item. This is a limited edition, and weighs in at a hefty price - but considering what you pay for some RRL items, and how some of the Limited Edition prices of rare items like the original Nevada, hold up, they are still impressive.

The Triple Pleated Blouse is a repro of the oldest-known Levi's denim jacket. Like all these early pre-San Francisco Earthquake items, historical info on the original is sketchy. Levi's Archives obtained the jacket from a collector in early 2010 - hopefully at some point I can feature photos of the original. Compared to, say, the early 206 jacket in the archives, I love the combination of the complex pleats and the simple, large pockets. My guess is that, like all the pre-1915 style fabrics, which mimic the original Amoskeag denim, that the slightly black-green denim comes from Kurabo. I believe RRP on this is £350 - and there are only roughly 100 being produced. Both this, and the washed version, are made in the USA. I wish I'd had more time to examine this, but it is a magnificent piece.

There was more good news in the form of the Autumn list for the US - which for the first time in ages includes a wide range of dry items. In terms of the 501, there will be an 1890, the 1922, 1933, 1944, 1947, 1954 (the skinny one) and 1955, 1966, and 1978. Better still, the Pantaloon reappears, in both raw and a wash I believe, plus the return of the much-missed 201. The 201 was the cheaper alternative to the 501, and the LVC version - with a very greencast fabric made by Kurabo - has always been one of their finest repros, as long as you have the confidence to pull off something so baggy and old-skool.

Finally, not enough space here, but LVC for women is back. Will update when I can. 


  1. Nice work on the updates. Thanks.

  2. Awesome update Paul, love that they're making the 605's, those skinnies are so cool.

    Also, speaking of skinnies... has LVC ever done a denim version of the 519?