From Genoa to your closet.
Hotter than ever, denim is featured in the runway collections of luxury brands, including Chanel and Louis Vuitton, while Levi’s—whose denim business is now nearly 150 years old—reigns as the “it” denim brand
Members of the Italian navy wear trousers made out of denim manufactured in Genoa, Italy. One theory about the origin of the term jeans is that it comes from Genes, the French name for the town of Genoa.
Pioneering tailor Jacob Davis reinforces the seams on denim jeans with rivets originally used for horse blankets. Davis then teams up with Bavarian immigrant Levi Strauss to patent and manufacture their new ultra-sturdy pants.
Levi Strauss & Co. makes a denim tuxedo for crooner Bing Crosby after he was notoriously turned away from a Vancouver hotel for wearing jeans. The label inside the denim tuxedo includes instructions that the wearer should be “duly received and registered with cordial hospitality.”
Rock-chic fashion icon Kate Moss revives the skinny jean.
Marilyn Monroe proves that women can also wear denim with rebellious sex appeal while wearing jeans and a jean jacket in the movie The Misfits.
Inspired by European jean brands, Gloria Vanderbilt creates the first line of “designer” jeans for her namesake label.
Levi Strauss & Co. opens its first blue jeans factory in San Francisco.
Calvin Klein bursts onto the jean scene with provocative ads, first starring Patti Hansen and then Brooke Shields, who in 1980 famously purred, “Nothing comes between me and my Calvins.”
Kurt Cobain, the lead singer of Nirvana, ushers in an era of ’90s grunge while sporting flannel shirts and tattered jeans.
Barbie releases Barbie Basics, a line of collector’sedition dolls wearing wardrobe basics like T-shirts, little black dresses, and, of course, jeans.
John Wayne mythologies the iconic figure of the cowboy in his breakout role in Stagecoach. Wayne wears dusty, worn-in blue jeans, suspenders, neckerchief, and cowboy hat in the film, and he will continue to wear denim throughout his western movie career.
A young Lauren Bacall is photographed for the cover of Harper’s Bazaar in a denim popover dress designed by Claire McCardell, the first American designer to reimagine denim for women.
Flaunt your denim with inspiration from
50 Ways to Wear Denim by Lauren Friedman