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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 September 2018

Deconstructing the biker jacket

Now more than just a staple for boys, a biker is a must-have in many women's wardrobes

Marlon Brando in The Wild One. Photo by Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images
Marlon Brando in The Wild One. Photo by Silver Screen Collection / Getty Images

Irving Schott can be credited with inventing the biker jacket, having designed the first one for Harley Davidson in 1928. Quickly adopted as a symbol of rebellion, it has been the armour of choice for bad boys through the ages – from Marlon Brando in The Wild One (1953) to Tom Cruise in Top Gun (1986) and Mel Gibson in the Mad Max trilogy. When Elvis Presley staged a comeback in 1969, he did it in a biker jacket, and Sid Vicious made it required wearing in the late 1970s. A terrifying Arnold Schwarzenegger wore it as the unstoppable cyborg in The Terminator, while a more genteel approach was adopted by The Fonz in Happy Days and Danny Zuko in Grease. Now more than just a staple for boys, a biker is a must-have in many women's wardrobes. Kate Moss is a big fan (apparently she owns twelve) and, having teamed one with Hunter wellingtons, can be credited with creating the ultimate example of festival chic. As easily thrown over a dress as a pair of jeans, leather jackets have, of late, made appearances at Diesel, where they were worn oversized and hooded; in uber-luxurious crocodile and shearling at Vuitton; and even high gloss black at Bottega Veneta. The lasting appeal of a good jacket is its ability to dress down an outfit, so a biker will always work shrugged over an evening gown, or even a suit. For the true fashion cognoscenti, however, head-to-toe leather is the way forward. Worn with patched leather motorbike trousers, a white T-shirt, and a pair of killer Louboutin heels, it is the epitome of urbane insouciance. Just don't ever wear one on an actual motorbike. That's just for thugs.

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