NEW YORK, Mar 19, 2009 / FW/ — The year was 1979; John Travolta was the hottest star because of ‘Saturday Night Fever’ and Grease; and Olivia Newton John was a rising star, two years before her biggest hit, ‘Let’s Get Physical.’
Husband and wife design team, Stephen and Marlene Baum launched the original Les Halles and it became one of the most influential denim brands in the U.S. from 1979 to 1982. With styles such as the Baggie Jean, Paper bag Jean, Shooting Tuck, Annie Hall, and the zip leg Marilyn, Les Halles captured the imagination of the denim-loving generation.
In 1983, during the height of the label’s popularity, Stephen and Marlene Baum decided to close Les Halles for personal reasons. Stephen went on to become head designer for major brands such as Gasoline, a division of Guess, Jordache, and American Eagle Outfitters while Marlene, though she continued to work in the fashion industry, her first priority was raising their children, Remy, born in 1985, and Dylan, born in 1990.
Twenty-six years after the brand was mothballed, Les Halles is being re-launched, thanks to Remy who wants to re-introduce the jeans to a new generation.
“I was helping my mom clean out her closet and stumbled upon a pair of her old Les Halles ‘Baggie’ jeans,” explained Remy Baum.
“I decided to try them on and couldn’t help but notice that they resembled a certain style of jeans that was new to the market and becoming more popular by the day. So I approached my parents with the idea of bringing back Les Halles for the next generation.”
Two generations of Baums are working in the newly re-launched Les Halles. Stephen and Marlene Baum are taking care of the creative end, while their 23-year old daughter Remy is taking care of the marketing end.
“We are thrilled that Remy is following in our footsteps and truly love that the re-launch of Les Halles has become a family affair,” commented Stephen Baum.
“Marlene and I have worked in the fashion industry for well over 30 years; between our expertise running incredibly successful fashion companies and Remy’s fresh point of view from the younger generation, we are confident that we will bring to the marketplace a great collection of denim-based items at the right price.”
The debut Les Halles Collection features seven jean styles in an array of colors and washes:
1. Hip-slung and sexy, the baggy Boy Jean was created for the fashion savvy woman who wants to keep up with the current trends but refuses to compromise her own personal style and comfort. The In Seam is 30“ but should be worn even shorter, with the bottoms rolled up. Distressed and destroyed, it comes in four washes — Medium, Dark, Vintage Bleach and Dirty — and retails for $120.
2. Like its namesake, The Denim Straw Legging is long and skinny yet has an easy, comfortable t in the hips and waist. These design elements, combined with details such as abrasions, rips, and tears, give The Denim Straw Legging a fresh, modern appearance. With a 32” In Seam, it comes in two washes — Dark/Medium and Black. The Denim Straw Legging retails for $120.
3. Rips and holes give The Boy Jean Short that ultimate vintage look. Hip-slung and sexy with only a 5” In Seam, it has an easy, relaxed t. In two washes — Medium and Vintage Bleach — it retails for $62.
4. The Zach is the “Shorter Boy Jean Short” sporting an In Seam of just 2.5”. Baggy and distressed, ¬irty and fun, The Zach will be everyone’s favorite cut-o vintage denim short. In a Medium Wash and Vintage Bleach Wash, it retails for $62.
5. Like the original Denim Straw Legging, The Straw Ankle Legging ts snuggly throughout the leg, but has a relaxed, curvy t in the hips and waist. Updated with a cropped 26” In Seam and in a Dark/Medium and Black Wash, it is perfect to wear by day with ats or at night with heels. The Straw Ankle Legging retails for $108.
6. The Boy Jean Capri has the same relaxed, worn-in sensibility as the full-leg Boy Jean; however, its In Seam is 24”. In a Medium Wash, Vintage Bleach Wash and Dirty Wash, it retails for $108.
7. The Olivia “The Low Rise Ankle Jean” is simply sexy, tting like a second skin. Inspired by Olivia
Newton John’s character from Grease, The Olivia is cropped at the ankle giving it a hip, sexy look. With a 26” In Seam and in two di erent washes — Ice and Cauli¬ower –The Olivia retails for $108.
Les Halles’ Denim Collection will be available beginning Winter 2008 at select boutiques nationwide including Poppy, Precision, Michael, Irma (New York City), Havana Jeans (Stamford, CT, Scarsdale, NY, Rye, NY), Tupelo Honey (Adventura, FL), and Post Jeans (Miami, FL).
[MARI DAVIS and EDGARDO HERNANDEZ]
Photos courtesy of Les Halles