Anything but blue jeans

WHEN Nick Kamen stripped down to his underpants to wash his dirty linen in public, he brought the jeans industry out of the blues.

The television advertisement for Levis, set in a London laundrette, caused a sensation and re-launched a fashion movement that refused to fade.

Wearing jeans is as popular as ever, in the main because they transcend social boundaries. From rockers to royalty, wearing jeans is classless, sexless and seemingly timeless.

But people tired of regular denim blue need not despair, in today's fashion climate jeans come in many disguises.

Besides denim, twill, crepe and even synthetic materials are being incorporated into jeans. They can be fitted, flared, straight-legged, bell-bottomed or baggy.

New trends involve wearing jeans fitted at the waist with a silk scarf, slung low on the hips, oversized and held in place with a broad belt, slightly loose with briefs (only Calvin Klein of course) or boxer shorts peeking out. They can even be worn front-to-back as demonstrated by American rappers Kriss Kross.

But more exclusive fashion outlets are also selling variations on a theme. The spring-summer Moschino collection for 1993 defies convention, with designs appealing to care-free, confident people, who dare to be different.

Featuring vivid colours with an endless variety of bold patterns and witty wordplays, the emphasis is on fun, optimism and individuality.

With his trademark flair and originality, the designer has produced a collection incorporating everything from horoscope themes, to striking harlequin checks, futuristic computer coding and cartoon characters.

Moschino made its mark on the fashion world with bold, daring illustrations, word games and puns emblazoned across jackets, sweaters and T-shirts. This season appears to be no exception, with expressions such as ''senza vergogna'', meaning ''without modesty'', splashed across a dress with a naked torso printed on it.

Colourful, creative and comfortable, Moschino casual wear has always symbolised individualism and unorthodox ideas but always with a sense of style and taste. Around the world it is a firm favourite with the young in age and the young at heart, who find Moschino jeans a liberated style of self-expression.

Another prime mover on the jeans front is Guess. Eleven years ago the Marciano brothers, Georges, Maurice, Armand and Paul, began making a slim-fitting jean with a worn-in look.

The denim retail business had dramatically slowed down; people were no longer buying into the designer jean craze of the late 1970s.

However, Georges began buying up large quantities of denim fabric. Everyone in the industry thought he was misinformed, but he was determined.

He knew his innovative stone-washing techniques and the three-zip jean were a winner.

He approached a Bloomingdale's buyer with the idea. The buyer was unimpressed. But Georges convinced him to take a risk, left 30 pairs and within hours the samples had sold out.

Guess uses only the highest quality denim. Apart from using blue denim stone-wash, the company offers a large selection of coloured denim in various textures and finishes including over-dyed denim. Model: Honie from Models 4.

Location: Central.