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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.

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.