Leather Jacket: The History of an Icon

From Fonzie to Tyler Durden, from Maverick to Indiana Jones, the leather jacket has been a symbol of coolness and a must have for many men and women. But do you really know what hides behind this item?

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Kate Moss for Matchless

Leather jacket isn’t just a simple jacket, it’s an iconic piece of fashion that finds its roots in the first World War, when it was worn as a protective outerwear layer by the Germany’s army pilots. It will appear on the fashion scene only in the late 20s, thanks to the Harley Davidson motorcycle jacket designed by Irving Schott. He decided to reproduce the military jacket but in a more versatile way, by making it shorter and adding for the first time a zipper to a jacket.

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“Cafe Racer Girl”

His work became more and more popular and appreciated, and even more when his creations were chosen as new uniform for the US Airforce during the WWII. While thinking about leather jackets, the majority of you will picture Tom Cruise wearing it in the movie Top Gun, which probably is the most famous leather jacket of all times.

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Kelly McGillis (Charlie), Tom Cruise (Maverick) in “Top Gun” (1986)

As an icon of strength and independence, the “Perfecto” (name of Schott’s favourite cigars brand after which he called this jacket) will be adopted by the Punk movement in the early 50’s, and became a symbol for youth rebellion and contraposition to war. They loved to personalize their distinguishable black leather jackets with metal inserts.

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Marlon Brando (Johnny Strabler) in “The Wild One” (1954)

The unforgettable band “The Beatles” baptized the 60’swith this new trend, which they “adopted” during a trip in Hamburg, inspired by the look of Gene Vincent.

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The Beatles in Hamburg (1960’s)

Finally, with the overcoming of feminism, women will wear the leather jacket in the 70’s as a proof of genders equality and customized them with the addition of pins and studs.

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Debbie Harry from the band Blondie

90’s supermodels, such as Kate Moss, brought the trend directly to us, proposing both vintage and futurist versions of the jacket. Up to now, the leather jacket it’s strictly necessary in everyone’s wardrobe, as this clothing item fits quite every figure and taste, when in doubt on what to wear, the leather jacket will save you.

Luca Andriani

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. The Sartorial Coquette says:

    beautiful post!! i’m still searching for my leather jacket 😉
    thesartorialcoquette.com
    instagram: the_ch1ara

    Like

    1. lisacantore says:

      Thank you so much!

      Like

  2. meinheels says:

    What a lovely post, I enjoy learning about the history of fashion. It’s one of the most versatile pieces anyone can have in one’s wardrobe.

    @The Sartorial Coquette, a lot of leather jackets get better with age. They gain a certain patina and personality which you just don’t get with newer pieces. All my leather jackets are vintage.

    Like

    1. lisacantore says:

      Thank you, have a lovely day!

      Like

  3. I love my leather jacket, for the way it looks and all the associations it has from the past. Keep up the great work!
    ~Gloria

    Like

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