Magazine Article


The Blue Jean by Alice Harris

by Alice B. Miller

Published by powerHouse Books
( [ISBN: 1-57687-150-9]

Blue jeans. No other piece of clothing is more iconic an American fashion statement. Worn by presidents and painters, cowboys and contractors, actors and academicians, blue jeans symbolize freedom, independence, and self-expressionall-American virtues of the highest order.

Sixties Youth by Larry Fink

In The Blue Jean, Alice Harris traces the garment's rise from the miner's working uniform to omnipresent outerwear to fashion-forward chic on runways around the globe. Woven into the yarn are famous and infamous denim-clad characters, as well as cultural megastars, all highlighting garment milestones from the early 1900s to today.

Its 135 pages of color and black & white photographs, many of which have rarely been seen, form a vivid collection of images taken by some of the world's most celebrated photographers, including: Annie Leibovitz, Bob Gruen, Bruce Weber, David LaChapelle, Danny Lyon, Dennis Stock, Ellen von Unwerth, Eve Arnold, Harry Benson, Helmut Newton, Kurt Markus, Larry Fink, Mark Seliger, Roxanne Lowit, and Sante D'Orazio.

"Forever in Blue Jeans"to borrow an apt phrase from songwriter Neil DiamondHarris' celebrities are one with their go-anywhere, do-anything jeans: Marilyn Monroe, Sarah Jessica Parker, Marlon Brando, Lenny Kravitz, Lucy & Desi, Grace Kelly, Gene Kelly, Bruce Springsteen, Jennifer Lopez, Elvis Presley, Ozzie & Harriet, Bob Dylan, Farrah Fawcett, the Beatles, Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Cybill Shepherd, Keith Richards, Sonny & Cher, John & Yoko, Led Zeppelin, Jackson Pollock, Kurt Cobain, and Madonna to name a few.

The collection is a fun trip through photographic styles and trends, spotlighting the fashion preferences of the subjects, as well as the photo approach of the imagemakers. There is simply no way to separate the photographer from his or her subject in a work of this nature.

Bill Blass by Jeanette Barrin

Page after page, the author hands us pockets of blue jeans geneology that entertain and inform, clarifying their place amidst the mores, economic realities, and cultural pushes and pulls of each consecutive generation. The text by New York Times contributor Bob Morris adds to the telling.

Showing jeans on Americans of all walks of life, with myriad fashion statements, this oversized volume gave this reviewer the unexpected though pleasant sensation that this rough-and-tumble staple of many a wardrobe is as much a patch of Americana as some of our great landmarks and symbols.

The Blue Jean takes the reader on a cozy journey across a timeless indigo landscape. You'll zip right through it.

Alice Harris, a former teacher and author of The White T, is also a supporter of the VH1 Save the Music Foundation, which seeks to restore music education programs in America's public schools and raise awareness of the positive impact that music participation has on students. All author royalties from The Blue Jean will be donated to this foundation.