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Moment 40: Status Symbol

The Seventies saw the rise of pricy designer denim, with labels like Jordache, Gloria Vanderbilt and even Studio 54 cashing in on the trend.

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Calvin Klein Jeans 1979

Calvin Klein Jeans, 1979

Photo By WWD Archive

Appeared In
Special Issue
WWD 100 issue 11/01/2010

In the late Seventies, the beautiful people didn’t wear just any jeans. They went straight for designer denim, a relatively new phenomenon that included Jordache, Zena, Sasson, Chic and Gloria Vanderbilt. Even Studio 54 launched its own brand of jeans, with a steamy ad of a nude woman or man pulling on a pair and the tag line, “Now everybody can get into Studio 54.” But the hottest jeans line came courtesy of Calvin Klein, who created a denim phenomenon in the early Eighties. Designer jeans have made it acceptable to spend more on denim—sometimes a lot more, with prices commanding up to $600 for high-end descendants like Adriano Goldschmied, who, in a partnership with Yul Ku, founder of Koos Manufacturing, launched AG Adriano Goldschmied. They were joined by the likes of True Religion, Seven For All Mankind, J Brand, Paige Premium Denim and Earl Jean in creating this decade’s early wave of pricy labels.