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SEAFARER – Performance @ Colette Paris


Sailor’s Delight: Relaunching the Classic Seafarer Jean

by Lynn Yaeger


Seafarar DenimFrom left: Brigitte Bardot and the Penelope Jeans
Photo: Courtesy of Seafarer

In 1896, a Brooklyn guy called Tony Anzalone invented a better blue jean. Realizing that sailors sometimes had to roll up their pants quickly, he created the Seafarer bell-bottom, secured a contract with the United States military soon after, and produced the trousers for the next hundred or so years.

That’s a lot of sailors, and thus a lot of pants, many of which eventually found themselves in army surplus stores, where they were discovered by hippies and students in the late sixties and early seventies. As so often happens, styles that begin in the streets rapidly find their way onto the glamorous physiques of celebrities, and soon everyone from Jane Birkin to Farrah Fawcett, Brigitte Bardot to Raquel Welch,was being photographed looking sexy and alluring in Seafarers.


The new Seafarers at Colette in Paris
Photo: Courtesy of Seafarer

All this was on Massimiliano Tabacchi’s mind when he recently became a co-owner and relaunched the Seafarer, introducing an inaugural collection at Colette in Paris earlier this week. “It’s a really interesting heritage—not just the army connection, but what was happening in the early seventies,” says Tabacchi. While respecting its eminent history, the new company is not slavishly chained to the archive—they want their graceful, patch-pocketed bells to be soft and comfortable, not military-stiff, and to that end everything is made in Italy of the best quality denim.

There are ten different models, with names like the Penelope and the LordJim, in honor of literary characters connected to the sea. Seven are, as you would expect, made of denim, but in a break with tradition, there are also three pairs of limited-edition, wildly patterned flowered pants of Ken Scott fabric, which have no real connection to vintage Seafarer but which the company included as a playful homage to a 1970s sensibility. “We don’t want to copy the vintage models, but to invent something new,” says Angela Biani, who, with Chicco Barina, designs the line. “We want to explore a new heritage for the brand.”


Madame Figaro

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