Material Girls: Current/Elliot, the Denim Revival, and Blue Jeans Through the Ages

The new book “A Denim Story: Inspirations from Bellbottoms to Boyfriends” documents denim’s milestones


Stylists Emily Current and Meritt Elliott can take credit for at least one denim revival: Launched in 2008, Current/Elliott, their namesake brand, propelled slouchy boyfriend-style jeans into an instant hit for women. (The company was sold in 2012.) The West Hollywood-based duo is also known for incorporating denim into dressy looks for clients like Jessica Alba and Mandy Moore.

Largely as a tribute to the fabric and partly as a way to share their own work, Current (right) and Elliott (left) collaborated with photographer Hilary Walsh on A Denim Story: Inspirations from Bellbottoms to Boyfriends, just out from Rizzoli. The book is a collection of denim milestones documented by archival photos: Marilyn Monroe in high-waisted jeans and cowboy boots, Jane Birkin in cutoffs and tights, Farrah Fawcett in flares and Nikes.

Contemporary images styled by the pair and shot by Walsh chronicle Americana through an indigo filter—from homages to Dorothea Lange’s Dust Bowl migrant mother (a model in a denim shirt and jeans, clutching a naked baby) and the hippie movement (a woman in giant bell-bottoms, topless except for a feather-fringed poncho). “Denim has a sense of playfulness, youthfulness, and resourcefulness, or in some cases a dichotomy of feminine and masculine,” says Current. “It’s those characteristics that we love.”

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