They say people come into your life for a reason, so when someone reenters your life, it’s all the more reason to take a look and see why you’re getting a second chance with them. Such was the case for Stephanie Danan, who along with Justin Kern is the co-founder and designer of Co, and legendary designer of the denim world, François Girbaud. The two first connected in the 80s when Danan was a little girl and her father was the Canadian distributor of Girbaud’s original brand, Marithé + François Girbaud. Girbaud would join their family for dinners and joyfully recounts snowy nights when a yound Stephanie had to be tucked into bed early. It was more than 20 years later that they happened to be re-introduced at an L.A. dinner party and a new creative collaboration was born.
Noted for perfecting and popularizing such now-mainstays of the jean world like stonewashing, stretch denim, and baggy jeans, Girbaud found himself in California working to reinvent how denim is created. After a trip to India, he realized that the way denim was being processed was unsustainable—it relies heavily on toxic chemicals and gallons and gallons of water to create every pair. “I moved to L.A. because I wanted to save the world,” Girbaud recently told us. “California is the perfect place when you start talking about wanting to save water.”
And it was also the perfect place to reconnect with Danan to collaborate on a capsule collection of denim with Co. “We’ve never done denim before, and now we’re doing it with the master,” Danan said. “Merge the fact that we wanted to do a luxury jean that had no stretch with the fact that Francois wanted to do a jean that had no wash and practically no stitch, and it was a perfect fit.”
The results of the partnership—a high-waisted, wide-legged jean, as well as a flawless denim A-line jacket that begs to be treated as a suiting piece along with the jeans—speak equally to both points of view. “This is a jean that feels like a trouser, with its wide legs,” Danan said. “It has this incredible swing to the leg, due to a seam that Francois created that allows for a movement in the leg that’s beautiful and really elegant.”
“We aren’t doing jeans that look like they’re for a biker or a cowboy,” Girbaud added. “I’m in Los Angeles and I don’t see any cowboys or horses running around—as a Frenchman I had this fantasy and I looked for them! Such a disappointment! Really, we’re responding to a modern aesthetic that’s fresh. Form, fit, and function are what’s important for today.”
“For the jacket,” Danan continued, “the shape is based on an A-line silhouette that we do every season, but we worked with François on adding some details that it make it very special.”
Girbaud said, “I was inspired by Co’s sense of proportion. The volume that they integrate into pieces and the movement they’re able to achieve—that’s what we drew from in creating the jacket.”