At the launch of Levi's' Paris Flagship store (as detailed in my article here), amongst its vintage inspired and eco-efficient interior and it's substantial collections; LVC, Red Label, Made & Crafted et al, I had the good fortune to speak briefly with Ilse Van Alsenoy - Women's Merchandising & Design Director, Anit Van Eynde - Senior Director for Marketing and Marie-Helene Azar, Senior Manager of Media Relations about Levi's' heritage, it's vintage collection and Levi's and women! Here is what they had to say:
How do you continue to keep Levi's fresh and fashionable, whilst retaining its classic heritage and brand values?
ILSE: At Levi's we always base our designs on Levi's' heritage, but we continue to be innovative in our products, in all aspects - in craftsmanship and sustainability. A couple of our collections, which you may have seen on the catwalk at New York Fashion Week, will evolve and move towards a more tailored and refined look. I believe our journey to continue making new and exciting products as well as containing our heritage can be seen within all our products.
Although Levi's is a leader in denim and best known for denim, we are not an exclusively denim brand. The Champs-Elysees store has a huge range of non-denim attire, from dresses and shirts and a variety of accessories, bringing the consumer an entire head to toe look.
ANIT: I'd like to add that Levi's has been working on some great campaigns over the past couple of seasons. We launched our Go Forth campaign - our first major global campaign. It wasn't simply an ad campaign, but we took an integrated and interactive approach with a purpose to really connect with young people and contain their pioneering spirit, so that we may remain on trend, fresh and in touch with our consumer.
MARIE-HELENE: One of the things you'll find in the store, are our classic pieces, but reinvented using sustainable methods, bringing the old and the modern together. Sustainibility is a quarter of our DNA, here at Levi's and it's also an element our consumers want from us, so you'll see familiar Levi's looks that have been finished with our Waterless Technology, which uses up to 96% less water.
Levi's has brought us many an iconic advertisement. Which is your favourite and why?
ANIT: I have two that particularly spring to mind. The first is the Go Forth campaign which I discussed previously. This campaign is a favourite because it's so much more personal and encourages a greater and unpretentious relationship between Levi's and its consumers. My second favourite is the Levi's ID campaign, especially because it was one of the first campaigns in many years that was dedicated to women. Only women will understand what it means to find the perfectly fitted bikini (bra) and this is the same with finding that perfect pair of jeans. Curve ID assists women of all shape and size to own that perfect pair of jeans.
(I was very interested to learn that the Bold Curve jeans bid the gape in the back of the waist (which I tend to experienced) a swift aurevoir.)
How would you describe the Levi's woman?
ILSE: I think the Levi's woman is definitely pioneering; she is observant and has an eye for detail and craftsmanship. She values the environment and believes in sustainability. She may prefer to be conventional or celebrate the modern, but regardless, she will find this store to be an enjoyable experience and she will appreciate the connection Levi's strives to build with its customers
ANIT: May I add 'we like Real people'. They can be any shape, any size, but as long as they are content and confident in themselves and their bodies; as long as they are honest, fun, carefree and open-minded, they embody what I would describe as the Levi's woman. She is definitely not 'bling-bling'.
Tell me about your Levi's' Vintage collection and how you perceive Vintage. And which vintage Levi's design do you think, withstands time?
LISE: Upstairs (Levi's Store, Champs Elysees) on the first floor, you will discover our vintage range. It is based completely and truly on our vintage archives - on our historical pieces. They are untainted replicas which remain true to our brand.
ANIT: (Stands up to display her fabulous vintage repro high-waisted jeans). These are what we refer to as 'Marilyn Monroe' jeans. The jeans are based on the design created especially for her, as she complained to Levi's that it was man's brand and that she would like to see a pair of Levi's jeans that were complimentary to the female form. Levi's eventually decided to create a model specifically for Marilyn. (So there you have it! Thank Marilyn for attractive jeans!)
As for how I define vintage - well, I would say anything produced between the 1920s to the 1960s. And as Levi's has existed even before that and throughout that era, we can confidently say that our vintage collection derives from truly vintage items. However, we also have customers who enjoy vintage inspired clothes, but want to put a modern stamp on it and Levi's gives them that choice too.
Marie-Helene, Anit and Lise indicated their favourite jeans were the incredibly flattering Marilyn Monroe jeans. I'd quite like a pair of my own.
Many thanks to Ilse, Anit and Marie-Helene for sharing their thoughts on Levi's with me.
To view images of the Levi's Paris Flagship store and to learn more about Levi's and it's relationship with France, visit my blog.
You will find the Levi's Paris Flagship Store at 76 Avenue des Champs-Elysees
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