In April of 1942, singer and actor Bing Crosby wrote Lucchese, requesting a catalog and a pair of boots to be made for him in “nice, soft leather — the best you have in stock.” As one of the best-selling recording artists of the 20th century, the company quickly obliged. Shortly thereafter, Crosby ordered three pairs of boots (not to mention four pairs for his children) that would go on to be paired with his legendary “Canadian Tuxedo” of the early 1950s.
As the tale goes, in 1951, despite his unparalleled fame, Crosby was denied entrance to a hotel in Vancouver where he was to spend the night owing to his all-denim pants-and-jacket ensemble.
Levi’s historian Lynn Downey explains: “You see, in the 1950s, denim had a very bad reputation, thanks to Marlon Brando, James Dean and all those other malcontents who were upsetting the social order by not conforming to America's postwar obsession with suburbs, picket fences and men in grey flannel suits. Not only that, denim still retained its work wear, laborer origins.”
Crosby’s friends quickly wrote to Levi’s — the premiere denim purveyor in America — regaling the unthinkable story of the star’s rejection based on his attire. The company then smartly, if not playfully, fashioned a full-on tuxedo out of selvedge denim for the crooner, complete with large leather patch sewn inside the jacket declaring a “notice to hotel men everywhere” that said “this label entitles the we’re to be duly received and registered with cordial hospitality at anytime and under any conditions.”
Today, our friends at Levi have recreated the memorable tuxedo that yielded Crosby almost as much notoriety as his singing career with a limited run of 200 jackets true to the original.