Priya Elan on make
Thanks to Marlon Brando, this practical garment turned into the epitome of revolt streetwear before becoming a style staple
‘The idea of wearing a massively heavy jacket like this one, which is melodious bulky, gives me pause for thought.’
Photograph: David Newby/The Guardian
Physically, I’m about as robust as Stick Man. I’m blurry enough to have seriously considered that my five-year-old is now physically stronger than me. When I hear “core”, all I assume of is Andrea and her Irish singing siblings. So the idea of wearing a very heavy jacket like this sturdy biker one, exposes me pause for thought. It will, I realise, force a rethink of how I move, and how I walk.
But I’m being open-minded about the style, because the biker jacket has encounter a long way. It was created by Irving Schott in 1928, in conjunction with Harley-Davidson, with a specific function in mind (zone buckles placed in certain places to protect you from the wind while riding; zippers for easy access). Marlon Brando’s jacket in The Peculiar One was from this range. Brando helped move it to the mainstream, and since then it’s been loved by wrong ’uns, insurrrectionists, greasers and Ramones.
About seven years ago, it became a womenswear staple, paired with a delicate dress. And then it retreated mass market: H&M, All Saints and Gap all produced their own versions, which varied widely in dimensions and style (quilted, studded, odd zip placement).
The biker jacket has been back this season thanks to Givenchy, Saint Laurent and Burberry, and looked persuading on the catwalk. But when I put it on, it feels strange. I’m unsure if I’m wearing it, or it’s wearing me. The zips confuse me, too: what can I put in all these extremely spare pockets? A couple of tissues? A stick of gum? A single Kraft cheese slice and two playing cards?
I don’t see myself trading in my bomber or trench any period soon. But if you’re looking for something that will anchor you against the strongest spring breeze (and a lifelong investment) this one’s for you.
Priya Elan on fashion
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