All About Eve

All About Eve

Get to Know the New L.A. Designer Bringing Rigid Denim Back from the Deadstock

Get to Know the New L.A. Designer Bringing Rigid Denim Back from the Deadstock

Text: Patrik Sandberg

Paris-born, New York-raised, Los Angeles-based designer Adelaide Bourbon has experience in reviving vintage style. When Serge Azria resurrected Christian Restoin's dormant '70s shirting company, Equipment, Bourbon worked alongside him for six years. Not only did she get to flex her chops as a fledgling designer, but she learned the ins and outs of what makes a commercial fashion brand operate. "I helped to set up the DNA of the vintage brand's relaunch," she says. "It was a wonderful mentorship, and I was fortunate enough to work there at a special time when a lot of departments overlapped, which meant I was exposed to all facets necessary to build a brand."

Now, putting her training to good use, Bourbon has launched a small-scale line, Eve Denim, focusing on rigid denim for a timeless look. V sat down for a Q&A to get the 411 on our ultra-chic, new denim obsession.

What inspired you to start a denim line?

ADELAIDE BOURBON I am a vintage-aholic when it comes to denim. I also live in the denim capital of the world, which meant I had access to the best vintage finds. I started amassing this amazing collection of denim and was questioning why I couldn't find this caliber of real denim on the market today. Everything has turned into one giant jegging mess to me. I was into '60s and '70s real-deal, authentic rigid denim, and could not find a brand that spoke to that in today's womenswear market. It meant I had to resign myself to endless digging for the rare gem that would fit me perfectly. But once I had that gem, what if I misplaced it? What if I accidentally ruined it? Owning the irreplaceable is stressful! I wanted to put the irreplaceable back in my closet but find a way to keep it there.

Where did the name Eve come from?

AB I have to thank my sister, Eve—who is a designer as well—for very generously okaying the use of her name. Apart from loving the name visually because of its wonderful symmetry, I wanted something that came off as very feminine. I realized that all this talk of "durable" and "rigid" might give people the wrong idea. This is a very feminine line, built to celebrate women and their figures in beautiful hues of blues. This is not a "bespoke" or "selvedge" type of jean, the sort which has been resurging in menswear.

Why are you interested in the concept of rigid denim? Why is it relevant now?

AB I am allergic to stretch jeans. I just think it's the antithesis of what this beautiful canvas was meant for and represents. It is supposed to be durable and age beautifully with time, which isn't the case with stretch denim. Color and wear and tear aside, stretch jeans also look cheap to me. I felt a need to bring denim back to how it used to be and how it should be. Especially with the current prices people are charging for jeans, it seemed incredible that I couldn't purchase something that wouldn't withstand the test of time and grow more beautifully as it aged. I realize how smart and lucrative disposable fashion is, but I'm not interested in duping people. I am interested in making premium items that are timeless. Denim is American luxe—you can dress a jean up or down. Women wear jeans with heels to dinner and drinks, it's an undeniable staple that can transition day to night. My goal with Eve is to bring quality and durability back to the most important and iconic contribution to fashion the U.S. has made.

What are some of your aesthetic inspirations behind the design of Eve?

AB The Eve aesthetic is a mix of two worlds: the lone cowgirl that sticks to her guns and the Parisian woman who has a put-together nonchalance. It's a strange mix that you'd think might not go together, but they do because they are such classic looks.

You grew up in France and the U.S. How has this dual perspective suited you in building a fashion business?

AB From the French side, I have a forever mentality. My mom never threw anything away. I have six brothers and sisters and I am the seventh, so I definitely was handed my fair share of vintage whether I liked it or not. The pioneering, entrepreneurial American side is what permitted me to dream of doing this and of course, the versatility and laid back style that is this country's forte has had a major impact on the look of my line. It can be worn with sneakers, a Pierre Hardy wedge, and of course a cowboy boot.

What are the materials you're currently using?

AB For Holiday, I'm using two fabrics: a medium weight, raw denim and a black corduroy. I'm offering a cowboy jacket which comes in both materials. The raw denim also includes a high-waisted, short, wide leg with exposed buttons (super '70s) and a boyish/relaxed overall that I am super excited to pair with a bulky sweater this winter. The corduroy comes in a bootcut and also a hot pant. For Resort, there's a denim that comes in two washes: a light, Venice, and a medium-cast, Malibu, which I am offering in a straight leg and a Jane bootcut from Holiday, respectively.

Do you have personal favorite pieces?

AB Personally, I can't get enough of the corduroy Loulou hot pant, which I pair with the matching Kaila jacket. It came into existence because of global warming and living in L.A. I can't wait until November to wear the corduroy! This was my solution to having Aries impatience. People have been loving the Charlotte Culotte and the Overall. Those are definitely the editors' darlings.

Where are you currently selling?

AB  The first season is only available at evedenim.com. Moving forward, I am only interested in being carried in a carefully selected group of stores across the world, as my product is curated and unique. It is the ANTI "for the masses" jean.

That being so, how do you plan to grow the Eve brand? What other types of items will we be looking at in a few years' time?

AB I am looking to expand Eve slowly, with a lot of care, attention to detail, and thoughtfulness. I am not interested in today's world of fast fashion and sacrificing quality to produce more, faster, for cheaper. Eve is designed, developed, and manufactured in L.A. because I want each design to be a forever piece. I'm taking it easy and doing what makes me happy. I don't think you have to revolutionize everything all the time.

Why, if you've taken the time to perfect it? Do you believe a good denim brand should remain a good denim brand rather than cross over into ready-to-wear?

AB I believe you should make whatever you are making with conviction and passion, or don't do it at all. I also believe you shouldn't limit yourself. Make whatever you feel is lacking in the market, but for the love of God, make it beautifully so it withstands the test of time.

For more from Eve Denim and to shop the collection, go to evedenim.com

TAYLOR WEARS THE KAILA JACKET AND THE CHARLOTTE CULOTTE (PH. BROOK LINDER)
TAYLOR WEARS THE KAILA JACKET AND THE CHARLOTTE CULOTTE (PH. BROOK LINDER)
BRYNN WEARS THE JANE JEAN IN MALIBU WASH (PH. BEN CHAPPELL)
BRYNN WEARS THE JANE JEAN IN MALIBU WASH (PH. BEN CHAPPELL)

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