NEW YORK — It looks like New York Fashion Week has come down with a serious case of the blues.
Blue jeans, that is.
While the twice-yearly showcase of designer clothing has never exactly been devoid of denim, the presentation of fashion collections for fall-winter 2012 is serving up a noticeably robust roster. West Coast brands including Levi Strauss, Hudson Jeans, 7 for All Mankind and a relaunched Rock & Republic have joined the ranks of the luxury labels.
Levi’s, whose last high-profile appearance at New York Fashion Week was in 2007 for the launch of a Damien Hirst collaboration, has spent the last year rejiggering and streamlining its product mix and marketing efforts. It hosted a presentation Wednesday to unveil its first global collection.
“We know we’re not a couture brand — and we’re not pretending to be,” said Levi’s creative director Len Peltier.” We’re using the energy of the week to announce our global line and introduce a new look for Levi’s.”
He described this week’s presentation as “uniquely Levi’s” as well as a departure from the traditional runway show format.
Different, but downright tame in comparison to the “phosphorescent invasion” of the meatpacking district that Hudson Jeans organized for Friday — part black-light rave, part live art performance-installation by Brooklyn street artist Aakash Nihalani, whose medium is glow-in-the-dark tape. The event was to launch the label’s new tuxedo-trouser-inspired jean called the LouLou, which has a racing-stripe side seam down each leg that glows under black light.
Another L.A.-based premium denim line, 7 for All Mankind, is trying to leverage a virtual presence during fashion week, having scheduled its new advertising campaign and revamped YouTube channel (which will host webisodes directed and edited by the now officially ubiquitous James Franco) which went live on Wednesday.
And finally, Rock & Republic — which once was a high-flying label whose most memorable appearance at a previous New York Fashion week featured a “Sin City meets After Six formalwear” aesthetic, an orchestra pit and a baby grand piano on the runway — was scheduled to return today after a couple of years’ absence. The Culver City, Calif., premium denim brand filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2010 and was later bought by VF Corp. This time, its VIP fashion show and party at the Hammerstein Ballroom was relaunching the brand as an exclusive-to-Kohl’s purveyor of denim, footwear and accessories.