Gap 1969’s Rosella Giuliani Talks Denim, Fall 2011, and Wearing Jeans Everywhere

Rosella Giuliani
Photo courtesy of Gap
Gap 1969 creative director Rosella Giuliani

If there’s one category of clothing we can never get enough of, it’s denim—and if there’s one place we can always, always go to find it, it’s Gap.

Despite the May departure of head designer Patrick Robinson, who launched the brand’s 1969 collection of premium denim to much fanfare two years ago, Gap has amped up its denim production with a new Los Angeles studio and Rosella Guiliani, a 7 For All Mankind alum who’s taking 1969 to a whole new level.

FashionEtc caught up with Guiliani, Gap 1969’s creative director, to talk all things denim. 

This line is named after the year Gap was founded. What was so special about denim in that era?

There’s a lot of really interesting aspects to denim back then, looking at washes and silhouettes. It was a really interesting time in the world—there were a lot of changes happening. Gap has its name because of the generation gap! But in denim, the ’60 and the ‘70s—and even the ‘80s!—were great eras.

Gap jeans Rosella Giuliani
Photo courtesy of Gap
Gap 1969's Five-Pocket Legging in rust

What's new with 1969 for Fall 2011?

For fall, it’s looking at denim in a whole new way—beyond that traditional jean that we all automatically think of when we think of denim. We’re thinking beyond blue, beyond denim, to new textures and fabrications. We’re making denim feel more grown up and sophisticated. There’s more texture, some super stretchy fabrics, more lightweight fabrics that feel like knits, sateen weaves, and we’ve explored new silhouettes, like trousers and cropped pants that aren’t a five-pocket. We really explored taking the category out of the box.

What inspired this season's collection?

We get inspired by people watching more than anything, both around L.A. and all over the world—we just look for what looks good. You can get inspiration anywhere: a café, a club, walking down the street.

What are your favorite pieces for the season?

I really love our super fine corduroy in a five-pocket legging [above right]. It comes in really beautiful jewel tones. I think that’s my favorite. And we’re starting to try some animal prints; they’re subtle, not so in-your-face, but it’s a fun element.

Is there a celebrity or character who perfectly embodies 1969?

That’s a tough question! The beauty of 1969 is that it’s not about one person or one style. It appeals to a wide variety of people and it can be classic or very fashion. We try to address all these things. Everything makes you feel modern and stylish but in your own unique way.

If you had to pick: wide-leg or skinny?

I love both! I like extremes—and it depends on my mood and what shoes I want to wear. I probably wear skinny more often. I love wide looks, but they’re best with heels, and I don’t always want to wear heels!

Gap jeans Rosella Giuliani

Photos courtesy of Gap

Gap 1969's Skinny Boot jean (left) and Pintuck Trouser (right)

How has the move to Los Angeles changed 1969 denim?

L.A. is really considered to be the denim capital of the world right now, from an industry standpoint—most of the premium brands are based here in L.A., and laundries are here in L.A. It’s great to be a part of the development, rather than sending things overseas and waiting for them to come back. And then I also think you have this whole California vibe and causal attitude—everybody lives in denim all year round, and people wear it differently depending on the neighborhood, which is really cool. I love combining that with a New York sensibility—it’s really an American lifestyle.

Is there ever an occasion where it's not OK to wear jeans?

For me, I don’t think so! Because of denim having become much more than it used to be—that five-pocket jean—there’s a lot of denim that looks really dressed up! There are trousers and nice washes and fabrications, that unless you were a true connoisseur, you wouldn’t even know it’s denim. Of course it depends on how you style it, you can practically wear it everywhere.

The new Gap 1969 collection is in stores now.

And find out which top designer the retailer is collaborating with next.