The Eight Most Iconic Cinematic Jackets ... and Where to Get Them
By now, a good number of you regular theater goers probably checked out Nicolas Winding Refn's Drive, which sped into theaters last weekend. One of the elements of the film that cannot be ignored is Ryan Gosling's white quilted sateen racing jacket, emblazoned with a giant scorpion patch on the back (more on the careful choosing of and inspiration behind Gosling's character's jacket in my recent interview with Refn).
Having always been a fan of both film and fashion, I thought it fitting to take a look back at the coolest jackets in cinematic history. Whether the clothes make the man or the man makes the clothes, the jacket is the essential piece of cool for any iconic character.
Try them on after the jump.
Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) and his brown leather adventurer jacket from Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
This is the cinematic jacket. It is the Holy Grail when it comes to film fashion. If ever a character was known by his iconic pieces of clothing, it's Indiana Jones. The fedora. The boots. The bag. The shirt. And of course the jacket.
Other than just being eternally cool with its brown leather bomber style, Indy's jacket serves as an external, visual reminder of just what the teacher by day/adventure-seeking archaeologist by any other day has been through on his quest to find the secret treasures of the Earth. Rough and weathered. Beaten, bruised and worn in. Nicked, scratched and scarred just as Indy, a man's man, is. But the jacket, also like Indy, is always ready to keep on absorbing the abuse, looking cooler and cooler as time and wear conditions it. But, most importantly, it never looks as if it belongs in a museum.
Kind of crazy when you think about the fact that not only did Harrison Ford play not one but three iconic fanboy characters (Indiana Jones, Han Solo, and Rick Deckard) and that each character had their own iconic jacket.
Original maker: Wested Leather Co.
Peter Botwright, Wested's original tailor of the Indy jacket commissioned by Spielberg for Raiders, is still producing authentic replicas of the jacket in standard sizes and even made-to-order custom tailored ones, which come complete with a Certificate of Authenticity. Botwright even offers the rest of Indy's outfit, including the trousers, the shirt and the belt. Punching sound effects not included.
Where to get a good reproduction: There are number of places that make their own version of the Indy jacket though screen accuracy is always a big determining factor that separates the costumes from the clothing so to speak. If you don't want to pay the equivalent of a few golden idols, then Todd's Costumes is your best bet.
The Rocketeer (Billy Campbell) and his tan leather aviator jacket from The Rocketeer
Another leather jacket inspired by fashion from the aviation days of the '30s and '40s in another film inspired by serials of the same period (Disney actually planned The Rocketeer as a trilogy hoping it would take off after the success of Raiders but unfortunately it ran out of gas at the box office). Flyboy Cliff Secord already had the aviator ensemble ... all he needed was a retro-futuristic jet pack created by Howard Hughes and a helmet that resembled a hood ornament to bring out the hero in him. Yet, he wouldn't have looked as cool jetting around saving the world from Nazis without that camel-colored jacket!
Original maker: Unknown
Where to get a good reproduction: Only a few companies offer reproductions of The Rocketeer's jacket, ranging in price all the way up to $700, but the cheapest is coincidentally Wested Leather Co. - maker of the original Raiders jacket. Their jacket is made using original patterns from the actual film jacket and will run you about $352.
Johnny Strabler (Marlon Brando) and his black leather motorcycle jacket from The Wild One
If we're talking leather jackets and film, it doesn't get any more eternally cool than Johnny Strabler's black leather motorcycle jacket from The Wild One. You see this style of jacket on bikers, ruffians, punks and rebels everywhere but it was Brando who first made it iconic. The Wild One jacket (officially known as the "Perfecto") has been seen on the likes of James Dean, Bruce Springsteen and just about every other icon of Americana cool.
Original maker: Schott, NYC., the first company to put zippers on jackets!
Where to get a good reproduction: Don't settle for a reproduction! Get the real deal from Schott, who offers the jacket for $540 bucks (along with plenty of other cool leather moto jackets like the red, white and blue racing striped Easy Rider jacket). If you don't want to drop that much, you can probably find a close enough style at any respectable vintage shop or motorcycle outfitter. Just remember, no amount of money can buy cool. You've got to wear it!
Jim Stark (James Dean) and his red Baracuta-style jacket from Rebel Without A Cause
Speaking of Jimmy Dean, the rebel without a cause made a jacket of his own iconic in the second of only three films he starred before suddenly and tragically dying in an automobile accident. Dean's on-screen presence as Jim Stark was as fiery and eye-catching as his signature red wind breaker, which instantly became as recognizable as Dean himself.
Original maker: The original maker of the Rebel jacket is still unknown, despite many enthusiasts efforts to discover its origin. Many believe it was not made by Baracuta but was in fact a McGregor Anti-freeze style, popular in the '50s, custom made by the film's costume designer, Moss Mabry. However, director Nicholas Ray claimed he took it off a Red Cross worker and another account claims that it was simply bought at a department store. So, it seems the famous red Rebel jacket is as mysterious as the man who made it famous.
Where to get a good reproduction: Being that the jacket is so recognizable (come on, even people who have never even seen Rebel Without A Cause are familiar with that jacket), you can find various versions all over the place, both screen accurate replicas with all the buttons, flaps, and zippers in the right place or off-the-rack jackets inspired by Dean's. This American Apparel nylon taffeta wind breaker is a good start. A Google search for red Baracuta jacket will get you going in the right direction if you're looking for something a little more authentic. There are even times when you can even find original vintage McGregor Anti-freeze jacket on eBay but they are rarely in red and are typically more expensive.