MIH Denim hits L.A.
Even at quick glance, the MIH denim line gives you an immediate sense of the ’70s. Not only because of the styles themselves, which include long, lean lines and solid, saturated shades of blue, but because MIH (known in the ’70s as "Made in Heaven") was the “It” jean in London throughout that decade, worn by everyone from Jane Birkin to Farrah Fawcett.
Four years ago, designer Chloe Lonsdale revived the brand, keeping the look and legacy of the company’s roots intact. She’d know a thing or two about the heritage; her godfather, Tony O’Gorman, created the line, her father, Tony Lonsdale, started London’s first denim emporium, the Jean Machine, and her mother, Chekkie Maskell, was the face and fit model for the Made in Heaven line back in the ’70s.
“I took the three best-selling cuts from the ’70s that applied today and tweaked them,” says Lonsdale, who will host a party in Hancock Park tonight marking the brand’s official West Coast launch at the Ron Herman and Beckley boutiques. “Everything’s been kept true in the detailing.” The original styles are still some of the most popular in the line: the London, a classic 5 pocket with a subtle boot cut; the Paris, a cropped skinny jean; and the Marrakech, a mid-rise kick flare that was originally a unisex style, but today would be too slim for even the most dedicated hipster. With its slight bell flare, it’s universally flattering, balancing the hips with volume on the bottom. And she has since expanded to 10 denim styles in various washes. Also, skirts, shorts even a slouchy chino, but thankfully, no rib-cage high waists or bulky bell bottoms.
The tissue-thin jersey T-shirts and chambray tops Lonsdale has added to the line are her personal wardrobe staple. “My daily uniform is a variation on a white shirt and jeans,” says the designer, who will wear jeans to everything as long as the occasion permits. “I also love Alexander McQueen and Elizabeth and James for little jackets.”
The Central Saint Martin’s grad has been busy with her denim business, traveling between Portugal, Italy and Paris for manufacturing and sales, keeping the urge to revive her father’s successful retail chain at bay — though she does admit that the concept is one that could be as viable now as it was back then. “People today are so confused as to how to find a pair of jeans.” Says Lonsdale. “Dad took only what was great about each line. The best from Wrangler, the best from Levis... One day I would love to relaunch Jean Machine. That is really a twinkle in my eye.”
Check back tomorrow for party coverage from the MIH event.
— Melissa Magsaysay
Photos: Top left: MIH Designer Chloe Lonsdale, Right: Marrakech jean. Bottom: London Jean/MIH