Levi's Vintage Clothing:
Bob Dylan's 551Z Jeans
In the heart of Greenwich Village, musicians, artists and poets defined a generation of bohemian creatives whose avant-garde attitudes and visions were accompanied by up and coming folk music artists such as Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Arlo Guthrie and Janis Ian. It’s this era that the latest collection from Levi’s Vintage Clothing looks to with a meticulous eye for detail to recreate a capsule range of reproductions for autumn/winter ‘19.
At the centre of the folk revival of the time, one artist in particular became known as the face of the movement and remains known equally for both his music and personal style. Born Robert Zimmerman in 1941, Bob Dylan arrived in New York in 1961 and began playing in Greenwich Village clubs, drawing inspiration from musicians and poets residing in the area. Donned in Levi’s 501 XX Jeans, rollnecks, striped t-shirts and his famous black corduroy cap - as seen on the cover of his first self-titled album - he was the epitome of beatnik bohemia. Accompanied by his then girlfriend of the time, Susan ‘Suze’ Rotolo who became recognisable after the 1963 “The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan” album cover showed her arm in arm with Dylan strolling down Jones Street. A pair of blue bootcut jeans and a light tan jacket became a distinguishing look for the artist, and was well sought after by fans. Following this, customised Levi’s made an appearance on the sleeve of another album “Another Side of Bob Dylan”, released a year later, and included inverted ‘U’ inserts above the bottom seams which allowed them to be worn over boots. Sewn by Rotolo herself, who was not only a muse for Dylan at the time but also a highly influential figure, who introduced him to experimental theatre, European films, modern art exhibitions, poets and writers: all core inspirations that ultimately shaped both his musical expression and personal style.
Described as “the staple item of any life well lived” by BBC broadcaster Robert Elms, the Levi's 501 XX Jeans were crafted with rigid, unwashed denim designed to shrink to fit when washed and are considered “the original denim jeans”. With an extensive archive full of various cuts and washes, a particular pair from 1962 caught the attention of Levi’s Vintage lead designer Paul O’Neill, and has resulted in an accurate reproduction being crafted with the same number of thread count, stains and of course bootcut inserts as Dylan once wore.
Accompanying this, stripes are prominent throughout the collection and offer a reinterpretation of the musician’s early folk ensembles. Tuning into two decades of influence including sportswear and hardy workwear cuts from the ‘50s, a rich sorrel brown colourway mimics the faded hues of album covers whilst an elongated One Pocket Shirt harnesses the casual, second hand character of many styles favoured by youth culture of the time. Remaining timeless since its inception, the 1967 Type III Sherpa Jacket is a core outerwear style reintroduced in a dark wise dub wash, complete with replicated buttons.
Continuing to tell the tale of their legacy and the stories of the characters within it, Levi’s Vintage Clothing was launched in 1999 and pulls a fresh variety of archival styles out each season with an aim to accurately recreate the magic behind original pieces. A meticulous eye for detail has been used for the reproductions, including the same thread counts and matched colours, which reflect a goal to make styles that are as authentic as possible. With a library that spans back to 1873, the project offers a piece of history to those who weren’t there the first time around and a warm sense of nostalgia for those who were.
View all Levi's Vintage Clothing at Always in Colour.
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