Denim Goes Upscale

Designers are transforming the humble fabric into sexy, colorful party gear

Novelty is king in high fashion. From the unexpected to the outrageous, it writes the rules of the upmarket game. This season, boutiques are full of dressy clothes in bright colors -- limes and lemons, oranges and magentas. Nothing new there. But wait -- the surprise element is that the costumes are made of that old standby of working clothes and off-duty wear, denim. A humble cotton twill, typically a weave of indigo and white, it has always meant durability and comfort. Now it also means class.

"I would do anything but blue jeans in denim," designer Rebecca Moses says cheekily,...

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