J Brand’s Lovestory for the Ages

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The New York Sun pays tribute to one of our favorite pairs of jeans, ever! Pretty cool!

In the 1970 movie “Love Story” a sassy Radcliffe music major and a wealthy Harvard jock, played, respectively, by Ali MacGraw and Ryan O’Neal, traverse class barriers and sour first impressions to fall in love on the sprawling Cambridge grounds. To fashion addicts, the movie’s climax lies not in the tragic twist that follows, but in the wardrobe. A succession of camera-ready looks ÔÇö opaque black tights paired with black flats, belted hoop skirts in plaids and checks, tailored camel-tone trenches, and covetable jeans– simply hog the spotlight.

A premium denim company, J Brand, pays homage to the film with its wide-leg Lovestory jean. This summer, the jeans ÔÇö sported by a bevy of red-carpet regulars — look to be the perfect foil for the season’s patent leather wedges and tricked-out espadrilles.

Speaking by phone from Los Angeles, the creative director and co-founder of J Brand, Susie Crippen, recalled leafing through an old coffee table book, when she happened upon a sketch of jeans typical of the period captured in “Love Story,” a film based on a novel by Erich Segal. “It was the perfect silhouette — low-waisted, flare leg, and tight at the knee,” Ms. Crippen told The New York Sun.

Inspired, she set out to design a contemporary look that would have suited the character played Ms. MacGraw, as well as the fashion-plate actress herself. The jeans would also be a nod to the teenage babysitters Ms. Crippen encountered as a youngster growing up in 1970s Connecticut ÔÇö a glamorous species of long-limbed adolescents in designer denim.

The J Brand design team soon discovered that if “love means never having to say you’re sorry” — a classic line from “Love Story” ÔÇö then the best jeans mean never having to ask if you look fat in them. The Lovestory comes in soot (gray) and superdark (indigo) and features a sturdy weave that is slightly rougher than typical washes, but holds its shape, particularly in the rear, where back pockets are unadorned and skillfully spaced.

In 2006, the company shipped the first pairs just as the frenzy for stovepipe, ankle-biting denim was taking hold. “I love a skinny jean, but I also love a bell bottom. Why would you have one when you can have both?” Ms. Crippen said, when asked about the industry’s ongoing pencil vs. palazzo debate. “I wanted to create jeans that you could come back to year after year.”

Her refusal to be restricted by trend forecasts has been rewarded, as J Brand continues to expand its retail presence. The Lovestory currently sells at several city boutiques and department stores, including Intermix, Barneys, Henri Bendel, Bergdorf Goodman, and National Jean Company.

And like the film, which made a star of Ms. MacGraw, the jeans of the same name boast their own celebrity contingent, among them Penelope Cruz, Katie Holmes, Kate Beckinsale, and a pre-pregnancy Jessica Alba.

And for those seeking guidance on how best to wear the jeans as temperatures soar, one need look no further than the tearjerker: In one scene, Ms. MacGraw bounds barefoot onto a docked boat, clad in a fitted black T-shirt bearing the name of the summer camp where she is a counselor, Camp Tuckahoe. Her hair is pulled into a low, sleek ponytail with a center part. She has accessorized with simple hoop earrings and a pair of snug, flared white jeans.

J Brand can supply the pants, but the yacht is not included.

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