I'd like to share with you my latest fashionable obsession.
One of the cultural cornerstones of near-and-current contemporaria to came out of the end of the Second World War was the motorbike. Not an innovation of the global conflict itself, the bike was one of the unexpected bastard-child no one saw coming. As a literal army of young men arrived home from the front lines, as occurs with many wars and generations, some found themselves a piece out of place.
Still wired for war, many set out on their own, leaving behind what friends and families they once had, joining up with army buddies and criss-crossing the country on the ex-military standard Harley Davidson. By the close of the 1940's, the biker had become a national bogeyman, a nightmare on the edge of the otherwise forced-smile-happy-home-made Atomic Era. When Marlon Brando blew into the town of Wrightsville with his Black Rebels club in the classic counter-culture film The Wild One, he changed forever how the public saw youth-in-leather... and he did it wearing a Perfecto 618.
Designed by Irvine Schott in 1928, and refined into its familiar form by the mid-40's, the Perfecto is the ultimate leather jacket. Instantly recognizable across the globe as "badass", the Perfecto style jacket has become so intrinsic to the rebel-look that decades of rip-offs and selling out by those wearing them hasn't tarnished the jackets bad-boy reputation. It floats freely from fashion trend to fashion trend, sexually androgenyous and gender neutral unlike any peice of clothing in history. If you find one that fits, no one really cares, or can tell, if it was made for the opposite sex.
I spent the better part of 3 months searching mostly in vain for this very piece. 'Come hell or high water', remarked I, 'it will be mine.' At first I was surprised by how hard it was to find... iconic enough to have survived Disco, yet missing in action... I had assumed at the very least 60+ years would result in a few piles of the old things waiting for someone to claim them and return them to their former glory. I was wrong. Mere hours before I would resign myself to another season without this glorious piece, one entered my life by way of H&M. Faux leather, "crinkled" creases all over (as per current flare laws, apparently) and badly in need of a pressing, it was still love at first sight.
So here's to you, legendary pop-culture icon jacket.
May you raise hell, rock out and terrify parents for another 60 years.