Mar 05, 2014 2:40 AM GMT
Following the explosive 1953 cinematic phenomenon of “The Wild One,” in which a young Marlon Brando famously dons a signature black version, subcultures began to fetishize the article of clothing. “You couldn’t get into a gay bar without wearing one,” recalls GQ’s “Style Guy” Glenn O’Brien, whose own collection includes one on which his friend, the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, painted his signature “crown” on its back. During the 1980s, the Ramones and fellow punk bands trolling the East Village cemented its separatist status. And somewhere along the lines, the design seeped into more mainstream fashion and began popping up on runways.
Jason Schott, whose great-grandfather Irving is largely credited with creating the original biker jacket in 1928 for the family’s American outerwear company, Schott, sometimes marvels at how the style has evolved into a fashion staple. “It’s the little black dress of men’s fashion,” says Schott, now C.E.O. of the brand, which still produces its original Perfecto jacket.