Luxury & Fashion

Feb 1, 2018

STORY OF AN ICON

It was created for the emerging social gang of bikers, in 1928, and it rose supported by the strength of major brands of motorcycles. Harley, Norton, Triumph, Indian, and even the Japanese Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki "pasted" the use of this jacket which protected at the same time the body, the soul and the prestige of being a "20th century rebel", had he, cause or not.

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By PIOTR PETROVICH

It will complete 90 years in 2018. It is no more than "the most iconic jacket ever, used by bikers all over the world", what is not a short thing to say…

Since the beginning of the 21st century, as a result of a cyclical revival of fashions (some call it "retro" or "vintage"), Perfecto was called back to the starring role of fashion, and charm, and style among young people, fewer young people and the forsaken of their own youth (until now).

Comfortable, practical, safe, seductive, resistant and long lasting; half a dozen attributes which define perfectly leather clothing.

Leather is recognized as the first material ever to be used in clothing, from pre-historic days onto ancient Greece. It had a special role in the burial rituals of the eastern province of Kamchatka, in Russia. In Morocco, the use of leather set up the distinction between the world of the living and the one of the dead, therefore, the skins manufacturers played an important social and spiritual role in society.

From Buffalo Bill to the Red Baron (Manfred von Richthofen), leather held an essential role during the conquest of the western lands and the conquest of the skies in Europe – the first pilots of World War I used leather jackets, as well as the first helmets were both used to hold the hair and the protection goggles.

Leather has adapted itself to civilization and marked each step of the world's history. Naturally, in the early 20th century, this second skin, rapidly glued itself to the bikers' bodies.

In 1928, the Schott Brothers, sons of Russian emigrants, decided to quit the door-to-door sales of rain coats and dedicated themselves to the production of something to coat the emergent class of bikers. Thus, was born "Perfecto", a piece of cloth which would become a legend.

The first commission arose almost immediately. A Harley-Davidson distributor from Beck, Long Island, decided to sell this short malleable and practical jacket along with the brands' bikes buyers.

The Russian brothers developed several solutions until the final issue. This would include the use of a zipper, in order to close – in an "x" – the huge front collars; a strap to lock the gloves inside the jackets' sleeves; leather reinforcements on the shoulders and elbows; another strap to prevent the entering of wind on the hips; and a small pocket which would lock with a polished spring and served to quickly use the – very popular by the time – Zippo lighters.

The jacket was totally produced in horse leather – rather ordinary, strong and resistant leather. And the name: "Perfecto", followed the name of the Cuban cigar the Russian brothers pretty much enjoyed.

The jacket is used by the first time in cinema in 1953, by Marlon Brando, on the movie "The Wild One", which told the story of the 'invasion' of the American town Hollister, by a gang of bikers that, before the arrival of a contender gang, threat to turn the town into hell.

In 1940, arises the 613, more known nowadays as the "One Star" due to the inclusion of a star over the shoulder strap which, is believed, arises from the support of the brothers to the Cuban revolution. The 618's model, from 1950, only loses the star from the strap.

The motorcycle group "Hells Angels" started using the "Perfecto" as a uniform of the group, holding nothing more than the groups' brand on the back of the jacket.

Also, the motorcycle American police, soon surrendered to its beauty, plus the fact it was an extra protection which allowed the malleability and movement of their officers.

The negative weight of the name "Black Jackets" was first applied to the bad behaviour youngsters in France, in the 1960's. Up to the point the jacket was forbidden in schools, due to their negative and rebel image, in a society regarding itself as intellectual and cult.

But, "Perfecto" hadn't had its last words.

After the social phenomenon of Woodstock, rock n'roll bands arise for which this negative charge represented the message the band wanted to transmit. From the "last" Beatles to Rolling Stones, "Perfecto" also became a symbol of young people and rockers all over the world.

In late 1970's, it becomes the representative of the Punk movement which adopts it and starts loading it with several metal pieces to turn it even more shinny and keep the chromatic agreement to the polished zippers and springs. Chains, pins and other coloured and shiny objects are added to the magnificent jacket. Plus, there is the case of the band "The Ramones", when all the members of the band were wearing the black jacket.

The 1980 and 1990's decades, is the age for world's known stylists to find it out, once again, and take it for themselves. From Jean-Paul Gaultier to Christian Dior, Versace or Karl Lagerfeld, they all used this black leather jacket in their collections and recreations.

Today, "Perfecto", even has the right to its own Wikipedia page… (I know I don't).

It will accomplish 90 years during 2018, but the younger ones (and the not so younger ones) from all over the world, are not in the mood nor available to forget it, or bury it.

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