Competition has arrived for the ever-present boxy blazer from the not humble bomber jacket. Once the unique area of skaters and followers of the film Top Gun, the single-zipped staple has been given a expensive makeover from Gucci’s artistic director Alessandro Michele and designer Miuccia Prada, with excessive road labels producing elevated variations simply in time for the arrival of Top Gun: Maverick on cinema screens.
Like Tom Cruise within the delayed film sequel, bomber jackets touchdown in shops from the Paris and Milan runway are barely recognisable, with flight badges stitched to nylon changed by vivid prints and outrageous gildings on silks and natural cotton.
“It’s definitely about taking a more elevated approach and using interesting materials,” says Natasha Gordon, designer of Australian label Clea. The bomber jacket was the centrepiece of Gordon’s debut assortment. “It’s about harnessing the clean and modern properties of the bomber jacket and updating them. I use double-faced jacquard, so it can be worn in the office with a matching skirt or teamed with jeans for a more casual approach.”
The origin story of bomber jackets begins with the US navy within the ’50s, after they had been developed to switch cumbersome fleece-lined, leather-based jackets worn by fighter pilots. The MA-1 is taken into account the blueprint, with high-quality nylon offering insulation within the cockpit, a knitted collar permitting room for a parachute harness and a single zip helping with consolation in hotter circumstances on the bottom. Orange lining was developed for the signature sage inexperienced jackets to help with visibility for rescue missions.
In the late ’60s the jacket was adopted by homophobic London skinheads as their unofficial uniform, earlier than the queer group and bands akin to Bronski Beat retaliated by reclaiming them within the ’80s. Skaters, home music followers, sports activities stars and movie stars of the Top Gun period adopted, however this season’s luxurious improve has taken it to new ranges and costs, with Prada’s sequinned model costing $6700. At that value it’s being taken off the road and into VIP rooms.
“I’ve had a soft spot for a bomber jacket ever since the early ’90s when I’d wear my homeboy boyfriend’s army disposal version with floral dresses and Doc boots,” says Justine Cullen, editor of the relaunched Australian version of InFashion journal. “To me, they never really lost their appeal, but there’s no doubting that they’re the jacket shape of the moment, Net-a-Porter alone is stocking 81 different styles this season.”
“The perfectly oversized Prada Re-Nylon version is the modern classic, but there’s some fun to be had with more experimental shapes this season, too – cropped, leather, puff-sleeved, satin, endlessly fun colours. They’re versatile and practical – most are waterproof in some way, handy for these La Niña times – but the real joy is how they add an immediate youthful coolness to any look. I love the juxtaposition of a bomber thrown nonchalantly over a more dressy, grown up outfit and heels; it makes everything look so much less contrived.”