One could be forgiven for thinking that the Swedes and the Japanese were the new kings of denim, given the hip technologies and esoteric collectors' items offered by labels of those origins at the moment.
But for classic cool and comfort, look no further than Los Angeles, the city of jeans, where denim labels are accorded the same level of prestige as Parisian couture houses.
Paige Denim, founded in 2004 by ex-model Paige Adams-Geller, is a go-to brand for celebrities and the style set there; they are jeans for those in the know, which have made their way across the pond in recent years and have a cult following on these shores too. Cameron Diaz, Gisele Bündchen and Heidi Klum are all known to have several pairs of Paige jeans nestling in their wardrobes – what better sets of legs to help tempt you to try them on too?
"We've introduced a new look for spring 2012," Adams-Geller says, all thick blonde hair, white teeth and tan. "A new logo and some tweaks to our well-loved designs, along with some fresh new products."
Classic styles in the range include flared sailor pants, a tapered peg cut, and an immensely helpful pair of boot-cut jeans, named after Hollywood's Laurel Canyon, of the sort that winnow the thighs and perks up the bottoms of Penélope Cruz and Eva Longoria. Then there's a super-stretch "Verdugo'" style, which has become the label's signature, as well as a rare flattering ankle-high crop, the "Skyline".
The secret behind it all comes from Adams-Geller's own experience of the denim industry, where she worked for more than 10 years as fit model to labels such as Seven, Citizens of Humanity and Habitual. Her own line is shot through with the sorts of careful detailing that ensure an absolute fit, whatever the style and regardless of the fact that we might not all be as blessed with athletic limbs and gravity-defying posterior.
Contoured waistbands mean a farewell to "muffin tops" while forward-sitting side seams make for a comfortable second skin. Every addition is made with the aim of making jeans shopping less difficult – for a garment that so many of us spend so much time in, finding the right pair can be a minefield.
"Know when you'll want to wear your jeans and what with," advises Paige Adams-Geller for the optimal denim-buying experience. "This will help you decide between dressy, casual and work-appropriate styles. Bring the footwear you'll actually wear with your jeans to see if they work, and be daring with what you take to the fitting room – if you like it but don't think it will look good on you, try it anyway. Be confident and don't be afraid of colour – it can be flattering."
Seasonal variations added to the line for spring are an extension of this ethos, bringing all the same characteristic considerations to chino styles and coloured denim, perfectly in line with next season's trend for bright and pastel shades.
"We've some real stand-outs," Adams-Geller continues, "including a free-hand tie-dye, pretty peach and grey over dyed florals, and a sexy serpent 'Komodo' print on some of your classic shapes and lengths.
"My favourite new pieces are our candy-coloured 'Baxter' chinos, which can be worn loose for a traditional chino look, or a size down for a chic cropped pant."
Such styling ticks are typical of Paige Adams-Geller and her brand, known for idiosyncratic techniques and a keen eye for details, which are translated differently by every wearer.
She has made denim interesting, without straying from the dressed-down ease and nonchalance that is so inherent in the hippyish but urban Southern California look. But it takes devotion to get such artlessness right.
"Do stretches and squats in the fitting room, to make sure your jeans move with you," she smiles, when pressed for her in-the-know expert tips. "And sit down to see if they bag at the back. Butt cleavage is not a good look."