Remember when Levi’s made a retro clothing collection for the Summer of Love?

Remember when Levi’s made a retro clothing collection for the Summer of Love?

Paul O’Neill, a designer at Levi’s, has created classic collections for the model impressed by historic moments and cultural touchstones. Photograph: Gabrielle Lurie, The Chronicle

Paul O’Neill’s latest collection of clothing for Levi’s Vintage re-creates the style and aesthetics of the late Eighties music scene in Manchester, England, constructed across the tradition that got here from bands just like the Comfortable Mondays and Stone Roses. The garments mix the rugged, classic look of thrift retailer clothes with the windbreakers and hoodies made vital by town’s gloomy climate.

It’s a novel perspective from O’Neill, a local of Eire who got here to the Bay Space to create classic collections for Levi’s. However this look into Manchester’s style previous isn’t his first assortment. Listed below are just a few of O’Neill’s earlier ideas that mined moments in historical past to supply garments that borrow from previous designs to craft one thing of this second.

Paul O’Neill created a group to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the Summer season of Love. Photograph: Levi’s Classic Clothes

Summer season of Love

O’Neill all the time liked the music and style that got here out of ’60s-era San Francisco, so when the chance got here to make a group for the fiftieth anniversary of the Summer season Of Love in 2017, he went all out, finding out the customized clothes made by the native designers of the day, together with the “loopy legs” denims that sported hand-painted slogans like “Love Journey.”

To take his assortment actually excessive, O’Neill organized a photograph shoot that seemed like a live performance on the famed Avalon Ballroom, full with psychedelic lighting results. He even went so far as to launch a 7-inch single from the faux band he made up for the shoot, the Mistaken Turns. (The songs, one being a model of the storage normal “Louie Louie,” had been recorded by a band from Los Angeles referred to as the Turns.)

This picture was a part of the promotional materials for a group impressed by the “Golden Handshake” of 1915 between Levi’s and Cone Denim. Photograph: Levi’s Classic Clothes

Golden Handshake

Whereas O’Neill appreciates Levi’s extra up to date strains, the corporate has a fan base devoted to its fashions from the late 1800s and early 1900s. With them in thoughts, O’Neill tries to seek out ideas that use these a lot older archive items.

O’Neill had the proper inspiration for his 2015 assortment, which celebrated the a hundredth anniversary of the “Golden Handshake,” the enterprise deal Levi’s made with Cone Denim in North Carolina, the place Cone could be Levi’s unique denim producer. It allowed O’Neill to re-create items meant for Levi’s unique prospects, miners, like these dwelling within the Appalachian Mountains again when the golden handshake was made.

Sadly, O’Neill’s reproductions are in all probability too pricey for as we speak’s miners, as a few of his items go for as a lot as $1,200.

O’Neill’s No Enjoyable assortment leaned closely on the Louisville post-punk music scene of the late ’80s and early ’90s. Photograph: Levi’s Classic Clothes

No Enjoyable

Being such an enormous fan of music, O’Neill has used fairly just a few music scenes from the across the globe for his assortment inspirations. He’s traveled to Jamaica to re-create the clothes of the Impolite Boys and rockers of the unique reggae scene, and for his “People Metropolis” assortment, he had a mannequin take a bus journey from Minnesota to New York Metropolis as Bob Dylan did within the early ’60s.

For his fall and winter 2020 assortment, No Enjoyable, O’Neill seemed to the post-punk scene of ’80s Louisville, Ky., to drive the designs. He labored with the Louisville Underground Music Archive to attach with the bands from these days like Squirrel Bait and the Finish Tables, after which he promoted a live performance that includes up to date native bands carrying his new designs.

Whereas the musicians and scenesters loved working with O’Neill, a few of these unaware of the undertaking criticized him and Levi’s for “exploiting” the scene when the gathering got here out. O’Neill is adamant that wasn’t the case, saying “If we needed to make a number of cash, I believe I’d in all probability do a Nirvana assortment. Not a Squirrel Bait assortment.”

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