The Observer catches up with '80s jeans designer François Girbaud—remember, he was the one who had the clever idea of putting his little label on the zipper flap of his jeans, so everyone was always looking at your crotch? Like Z. Cavaricci! And that jingle from their commercials? God, get it out of my head, please!—who is apparently trying to make some sort of comeback. Well, sort of. See, he's already had a bit of a comeback in the last few years, but it was with the wrong kind of people. The black kind.
"Somewhere, the company was running too much in some direction, too much in hip-hop stuff," Mr. Girbaud, 62, told the Transom (perhaps taking a page from the playbook of a compatriot who last year expressed disdainful befuddlement toward rappers' loyalty to the Champagne label Cristal). He was wearing a black-collared shirt over baggy black jeans, which were adorned with a single drooping silver chain that smacked against his knee as he strode through the streamlined space. "To be just connected in the hip-hop stuff is other brand; there is people like Russell Simmons or Damon Dash or Puff Daddy or all this kind. I'm not the rap people. Sure, we introduced the baggy jeans, we introduced stonewashed and all this stuff in the 60's or 70's, I never target just to be ethnic. It's stupid."
When it comes to his own self-expression, Mr. Girbaud seems to think that the exigencies of marketing are cramping his style. "I have to talk like that"—he flashed a gang hand-sign—"and speak like that"—he flashed another gang hand-sign—"and move like that"—he grabbed his crotch—"and it's ridiculous!" Now he was shouting. "What we bring into the market was always innovative, and I feel now I am trapped and I have to just talk the same way, like I have to have skulls and some kind of snakes. It's boring, it's really boring!"
Sacré Bleu Jean? [NYO]