“We fancy ourselves storytellers in everything we do—that’s how we approach styling and designing,” Meritt Elliott says of what informs her and partner Emily Current’s work. The L.A.-based duo, formerly of Current/Elliott and now stylists to Mandy Moore, Emma Roberts, and Jessica Alba, among others, have put their fashion tales into print with their latest venture, A Denim Story: Inspirations From Bellbottoms to Boyfriends.
With a curated collection of images, A Denim Story categorizes and classifies denim, from overalls to American Summer styles, workwear shapes to the most loved, lived-in pairs. And since the team first bonded in college over their love of vintage Levi’s 646s, the book shies away from expected imagery of sexed-up models in tight jeans. Instead, it pays careful attention to pairs that feel timeless and slightly androgynous. “We definitely always gravitate toward the idea of a boy’s jean on a girl, something that’s a bit awkward—something from your dad’s closet or your boyfriend’s jeans,” said Current, whose original boyfriend jean helped to launch the still-strong trend. Along with photographer Hilary Walsh, Current and Elliott focus on imagery that highlights this sentiment, drawing aesthetic inspiration from masculine silhouettes, the Dust Bowl era, and the children’s series The Boxcar Children.
Inevitably informed by their successful design past, not to mention their close proximity to denim manufacturing in downtown L.A., Current and Elliott assert that their take on denim is unique. “In many ways, since we come from a design background, the book is our inspiration board—it’s the things that have inspired us in different chapters,” Current explained. “We love our sensibility to be dressed up sometimes, too,” Elliott says of their now signature look that’s equal parts fantasy and quintessential Americana. It’s that effortlessness that defines them, and their never-ending love affair with denim.
A Denim Story: Inspirations From Bellbottoms to Boyfriends will be available from Rizzoli starting March 18.
“We had to start with the basics,” explained FIT graduate student and curator Kristen Haggerty. She’s talking about the origins of the university’s just-launched exhibition, Beyond Rebellion: Fashioning the Biker Jacket, a study of the motorcycle jacket’s evolution from a utilitarian Schott Bros. basic, to a symbol of post-WWII rebellion, to the modern-day fashion staple. “The first Perfecto was made in 1928 and was sold by Harley-Davidson—it’s really what everyone thinks of when they think of a biker jacket,” said Haggerty, gesturing to a 1980 replica of the late twenties belted classic with an exposed zipper. “Yes, it’s a very stylish garment, but every one of those elements means something.”
The show, which opens with an in-depth examination of the iconic Perfecto, combines documentary photography, press clippings, and a tightly curated collection of original pieces to shed light on the now 80-some-year history of the moto. Wares by Helmut Lang, Rick Owens, and a particularly memorable tutu moto jacket from Comme des Garçons’ Spring 2005 outing display the many ways in which fashion designers have appropriated and interpreted the garment. “Over the years, the Perfecto became something much more than a utilitarian biker jacket,” Haggerty told Style.com. “There were times when it was pretty subversive. Modern designers [have also] really gone above and beyond. It’s a garment that can exist in two different places at the same time, and have meaning for both of them.” All one needs to do is browse a rack at Versace, Chloé, Balmain, or Saint Laurent to see what she’s talking about. The exhibition, however, will help you understand and, dare we say, appreciate it.
Beyond Rebellion will be on view at The Museum at FIT, Tuesdays through Fridays, through April 5.
While he hasn’t yet been at the house for two years, Raf Simons already has his own Dior documentary. Dubbed Dior et Moi and directed by Frédéric Tcheng (who also worked on Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has to Travel and Valentino: The Last Emperor), the flick chronicles Simons’ first couture collection for the storied brand, which walked down the runway in 2012. Seeing as the doc is set to debut at the Tribeca Film Festival in April, we’re curious to know if Chanel will be inviting the cast to its annual film fest bash.
Word broke this morning that nightlife king Ian Schrager, the mind behind Studio 54, will partner with Rizzoli to share tales of the iconic club with a new coffee-table book, due out next year. As Schrager so pithily put it, “If the hunter does not tell the story, the lion will.” We can only hope that said hunter plans to air some juicy tales about Bianca and Mick.
Fashion publications are playing a game of musical chairs of late. In the wake of Eric Wilson and Cathy Horyn departing The New York Times (and former Style.com deputy editor Matthew Schneier, as well as John Koblin joining the NYT team), WWD reports that Suzy Menkes is leaving the International New York Times for a new job at Vogue. As an international editor based in London, Menkes will report for all nineteenVogue international websites, including France, Italy, China, and Spain.
“Suzy Menkes is a unique talent with superb judgment about fashion and keen insight into the business behind it. She is hugely influential and respected. Her contribution will bring even greater quality and authority to the Vogue brand,” Jonathan Newhouse, chairman and chief executive of Condé Nast International, said today.
“Change is good, it’s what fashion is all about,” Menkes said. However, things won’t be changing all that much: Menkes claims she will “be doing my same job,” so we can likely still expect her sharp runway critiques each season. Menkes’ new role also means she will have a hand in organizing an annual CNI luxury goods conference.