Amongst our clothes and fashion tips Jacob Cohën is quite a find. It is a brand that has existed since 1985, founded in Pontelongo, near Padua, by Tato Bardelle. But it was Tato's son Nicola, born in 1967, who gave the marque a totally new look in 2003. The concept was simple: luxury jeans. He removed all reference from the workgear concept and created lifestyle garments bearing all the connotations of luxury: handmade, perfect fit, superb materials, glorious finish.
Looking at an array of Jacob Cohën products is a feast for the eyes. The brand labels are in pony skin, featuring the stylized J, sometimes a metal appliqué. Even buttons are superbly sculpted, miniature works of art, often in valuable materials such as palladium, silver-plate and carbon fibre. One of the House specialities is a small flower embroidered onto the back pocket. Even the card labels tucked into the new trouser pockets are embroidered, with coloured ribbons indicating product name or characteristics. The labels inside the jeans are fascinating, with care instructions in a sort of hand-written print, and another label that provides a clue to the marque's approach: "Made in Veneto." In other words, no outsourcing. All production processes are performed not just in Italy, but at a local level, the north Italian region of Veneto. A true expression of local luxury.
Local luxury that is quickly going global. In the space of just a few years, the brand has registered a success that reassures management of the value of the concept. Over 250,000 garments for the Spring-Summer 2009 collection were sold, and estimates for 2010 are for a 30% increase, for total sales of about 40 million euro. The company makes 65% of its revenue in Italy, while the most important markets abroad are Japan, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, France and Spain. Distribution is set to be launched in ex-USSR countries, the United States, Canada, Scandinavia and China.
In the women's fall/winter 2010/11 Limited Edition collection, the principal material, denim, is treated using extraordinarily sophisticated techniques. Vintage looks are attained by means of abrasion, washing, embroidery, patches and darning, all performed in-house, all by hand. The colour range is extended virtually to infinity, from black, through all nuances of denim blue, to the lightest bleached used looks.
Traditional denim is combined with high-tech fibres such as XLA and PES, which give the fabric a sort of memory, ensuring that garments retain their shape indefinitely, even in parts subjected to greatest stress such as the knees. Japanese Kurabo denim is one of the marque's exclusive textiles, while this collection also features haute couture fabrics, such as vintage-style-treated velvet, elasticated satin, comfort gabardine, and English-style wools, a departure from the jeans look, with multicolour tartan and pinstripe versions.
The women's Special collection comprises distinctive garments, given extra character by details, accessories and tailoring techniques. Blue and black denim jeans are given super-glamour character by means of sparkling Swarovski crystals and embroidered motifs featuring intriguing animals. One version is particularly striking, total-black five-pocket jeans entirely covered with black sequins. The collection includes other accessory garments: denim waistcoats, and mini-dresses in denim, velvet or tartan wool. Knitwear garments in wool and cashmere include polo-necks, V-necks and other designs.
The Premium Edition women's collection is as always the most avant-garde range. Denim textiles are used in the entire gamut of washing, abrasion, cutting and garment effects for a vintage character, while maintaining wearability and fit to the House's superlative levels. Distinctive touches include punk-style studs, floral motifs, and skull images on the rear pocket for a head-turning period look. Jeans are complemented by denim shirts that are both tough and feminine in their appeal, and by a range of other garments.
The men's Premium Edition for the season maintains the Contemporary Vintage approach. The "used" look is orchestrated into a complete range of models, from tight to loose, and featuring a lower waist line this season. The Alan and Patrick models are new, with a very relaxed look. Colours are classic autumnal shades, blue, beige, brown and grey, given vintage tones by means of the various ageing effects in which the marque has developed consummate skill. Details and labels are characteristic of the brand, in aged leather or brown pony skin, with the collection acronym PRMJ.
The men's Academy Collection was inspired by the Chino trousers design, an American symbol of casual style. This range is hallmarked by a "luxury leisure" look, with distinctive pockets, appliqués, thick, full-bodied textiles, and high-tech rivets in carbon fibre. Other fascinating details include carbon-fibre zips, and period-style jacquard lining fabric featuring the House's sewing machine logo. The lining material also appears near the heel hemline and around the edge of the pockets. The 105 model is based on a workwear design, but with "pilot" pockets reminiscent of military trousers. The 106 jeans are trousers featuring an "urban" concept, with unusual stitch lines and an original pocket design derived from overalls.
The men's Limited Edition is, as suggested by the name, numbered. It is made from a distinctive Japanese textile, in a range of 35 denim fabrics, in shades of blue, grey and coffee. Each garment includes spare accessories, and original thread that can be used for shortening the garment. This is the sort of detailing that makes all Jacob Cohën products absolutely unique.