Valentino Joins Levi’s for an Unexpected Spring Collaboration

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The lace, crochet, and ruffles of Valentino’s Spring/Summer 2021 runway were intermingled with an unlikely pairing at Milan Fashion Week — the unassuming, but nonetheless iconic Levi’s 517 jean. First introduced in 1979, the bootcut denim has been adopted by the Italian fashion house and reimagined in romantic and urban ensembles.

Levi’s 517 jean has received a sophisticated adaptation which features a custom label and a wide bootcut flare that complements the wearer’s footwear. But while the co-signed, coed denim is a utilitarian fashion statement in itself, it also has historical and cultural ties. Born in a time of self-expression and possibility — among the Apollo 11 launch, Vietnam protests, and counterculture gatherings like Woodstock — the bootcut rendition has morphed into a symbol of democracy, youth, and resistance.

Known for his transference of couture elements into the ready-to-wear sphere and the idea of “resignification,” Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli has generated similar renewed relevance of symbols, ideas, and atmospheres for Valentino in the past. For the eponymous house’s Spring/Summer 2019 show, the visionary recreated Cecil Beaton’s 1948 photograph of models sporting Charles James gowns with women of color.

Piccioli reverted back to this idea of establishing new value for the collaboration, adding a Valentino twist on the traditional workwear staple. A symbol of togetherness, this season Valentino returned to its home country to debut both the collaboration and Spring/Summer 2021 collection in Milan.

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