With Fall 2020 in full swing, the denim industry now looks forward to the Spring/Summer 2021 fashion season in a way that combines classical and modern styles.
To commemorate Informa’s inaugural Coterie Digital trade event, which runs through Nov. 1, Rivet’s Blue Blood lookbook spotlights nine must-have women’s styles that will prove to be anchor pieces throughout the event, which include the Hudson denim skirt, DL1961 jumpsuit, NYDJ Bermuda shorts and a Blank NYC puff sleeve jean jacket.
For Alex Badia, style director at Fairchild Media, the parent company of Rivet and Sourcing Journal, it was clear from the start when curating the lookbook collection that he wanted to create “royal portraits” of denim pieces to establish the theme.
“To me, the inspiration is endless. I’m very interested in portraying denim with the weight that it deserves,” Badia said. “I like the idea of contrast. I like the idea of royals in denim. I like the idea of crowning denim pieces as kings and queens of styles.”
The theme also reflects fashion’s unwavering interest in royals. Rivet executive editor Angela Velasquez pointed to the positive effects that royals like Kate Middleton and Meghan Markle have on sales each time they step out in a pair of jeans or a denim dress.
“And just look at how Princess Diana’s off-duty casual style from the ’80s and ’90s has become a blueprint for cool-girl fashion,” Velasquez said. “The influence of royals—past and present—remains strong.”
The royalty aspect exuded by the denim garments was key to Badia’s decisions in the styling of the lookbook, in which he mixed updated, heritage pieces with novelty, trend-of-the-season garments to curate the styles. Badia sought out iconic products that were “stars” in denim that could modernize the ideal of a vintage royal portrait and also pay tribute to classic fashion designers.
For example, The Throwback is a high-waisted denim look designed to capture the feel of the 1980’s with Joe’s pleated jeans, a Nicole Miller dress worn as a top over a Marine Layer long-sleeve shirt.
“I was playing with all the ’80s throwback evening wear references with the puffer sleeves and the bejeweled and embellished tops that are more reminiscent of the Paris discotheques and ’80s designers that had a big impact in some of those eras of success like Yves Saint-Laurent and Christian Lacroix,” Badia said. “I like the idea of bringing denim into that moment because it creates an instant connection.”
At the same time, Badia sought out jeans that were minimal so that they could disappear within the style they were showcased in.
It also comes down to the ability to combine utility and trendiness, such as The Jumpsuit style, which includes a jumpsuit from DL 1961, a studded headband from jeweler Gaios and earrings and rings from sustainable jewelry brand Caprice Decadent. The Jumpsuit is a great example of the combination due to its inclusion of pockets, according to Badia.
“We need pockets right now to carry hand sanitizer and masks,” Badia said. “I was thinking of the practicality element that’s going to lead to a piece that’s already there to become a star.”
Badia highlighted one style in particular that carried a regal, yet modern theme. The Dress, a simple jean dress manufactured by Ampersand Heart with dramatic, puffy sleeves and a corset front closure, was described by Badia as speaking to a more high-fashion element combined with an “Edwardian reference.”
“It looked to me like something that even for the 18th century felt like a passage in time. But having it in denim instantly made it modern,” Badia said. “You can take even costume-y pieces—the moment you have them in denim, they instantly become from the present time.”
As far as clear winners of 2021, Badia highlighted The Skinny as the “go-to everyday women’s piece,” which includes Liverpool skinny jeans, a Grey State puff sleeve T-shirt and the Gaios headband. The clean style has a practicality element that signals it can worn at any time yet still align with fashion trends.
“Because of the elastic fabric in it, I do think it can connect very easily to loungewear and to things that feel much more everyday wearable and on the comfort level that we are trying to look for right now,” Badia said.
Badia defined denim as a category that has two sides, in that most people think of it as a commodity, yet it has impacted culture so much over the years that it has built an “insane profile in the fashion industry.”
“Everybody has a personal connection to denim, and that’s why I like it,” Badia said. “I like the democratization of such a high-fashion piece because for me, denim is high fashion and it needs to be treated like such.”