Pocketful of Miracles

Denim designer David Kahn gives ladies a lift, right where they need it most

Photo by Amy TheligAs they so often do, the side conversations told what was really on people's minds at David Kahn's recent trunk show in Newport Beach for his fall 2004 line: getting old.

"Oh, my God, look what's happening! They're going lower and lower," a shopper whined to the sales clerk at Bella Mare, a chic little boutique where manager Claire Lemke has a pair of Kahn jeans named after her.

"Is that the David Kahn?" the sales clerk asked her, nonchalantly.

"I don't mind showing a little belly button," the anguished, late-30s Newport mom moaned back. "I just don't want to look like a twentysomething girl."

She'd come to the right place to pick a fight with Mother Nature; Bella Mare's demographic starts at age 30. And David Kahn knows what mature women want, even if he keeps drawing low-rise jeans 'cause he knows women will buy them—'cause if you can wear them, you might get carded.

This season, Kahn has what mature women want in spades. He owns winter 2004, with a few choice new denim pieces—the Amie skirt, the Heidi pant, the Marte jacket—that longtime clients say complete his transformation from a designer for Everywoman to a man of the moment. The low-rise is partly responsible for that; so is the fact that he uses choice Japanese denim. But credit the bulk of his success to the Heidi—it comes with a built-in butt-lift.

Yep, a Botox-free butt-lift that Kahn accomplished simply by reshaping the jeans' Levi's-shaped, five-sided rear pocket into a six-sided stroke of genius. He made the pocket hexagonal, and made the inside edge of the pocket run parallel to the jeans' rear center seam. Then, by adding a dart on the outside edge and sewing it on in just the right spot, he made that pocket look like it was just glued on your butt in a hot little denim cone.

And, poof, your butt's all pointy and delicious and 17 years old again. That's why he makes the big bucks. All this gushing makes me sound like a chick—but this is a genuine design innovation: the fashion equivalent, perhaps, of the suspension bridge. Turning 36 never felt so good.

"I go to most department stores, and I look like I'm wearing clown pants," smiled slight-of-build thirtysomething Dolores Mann of Newport. "His jeans fit me."

"It gives the illusion," Kahn said of his miracle pocket, as he held court in denim pants, square-ish dress shoes, and a tropical Dolce & Gabbana sport shirt. "It kind of picks it up."

Specifically, it picks up your butt, and it makes up for the fact that Kahn keeps playing the youth card. South County moms will never forget that, but they'll forgive him for his wondrous butt-lift.