In 1951, US singer and actor Bing Crosby was denied access to a Canadian hotel after he arrived decked out in denim.
At the time, the material was associated strongly with youthful rebellion, and it was only later, when the staff realised who Crosby was, that he and his friend were allowed in.
But rather than give up the denim, Crosby’s associates contacted Levi Strauss to put in a request: a personalised denim tuxedo. Levi’s obliged and the result, made from its 501 denim, combined the material’s versatility with the elegance of the dinner jacket. Decorated with a corsage constructed from Red Tabs, the piece also carried a “Notice to "All Hotel Men" leather patch, declaring denim suitable attire for even the finest hotels.
Crosby, who was presented with the outfit at the Silver State Stampede in Elko later that year, was delighted and wore it while doing press for his film, Here Comes The Groom. Today, the original denim jacket can be found in the Northeastern Nevada Museum in Elko, but thanks to Levi’s Vintage Clothing reproducing the piece for its SS14 collection, there are now 200 more Bing Crosby denim tuxedos out there – all of them exact replicas of the 1951 version.
The Bing Crosby tuxedo retails at £1,350 and is available at stylecreep.com and the Levi’s Vintage Clothing store, 5 Newburgh Street, London levisvintageclothing.com; Red Tab western shirt £65 by Levi’s; levi.com