First worn by military men and aviators to keep warm , the story of the iconic leather jacket starts back in the 1900s. In 1940s and 50s leather jackets hit Hollywood and become the brand for the ‘bad guys’. Iconic actors such as Marlon Brando and James Dean are known as leather jacket wearers. Marlon Brando adopts the leather jacket look in ‘The Wild One’ drama in 1953 while James Dean in Rebel without a Cause, 1955.
During his 1960’s comeback, Elvis Presley is dressed with black leather jacket when performing for The Black Leather shows in 1968. In 1983, in order to make him appear more ‘powerful’ Deborah Landis designs the famous red and black leather jackets for Michael Jackson that were featured at this famous Thriller video.
Another music icon dressed in black is that of David Bowie, as seen in the picture above for his second 1977 album- in his Berlin trilogy collaboration with Brian Eno- called Heroes.
The black leather jacket is the symbol of rebellion during the punk movement with rhythm guitarist and lead vocalist of the Clash, Joe Strummer wearing the Lightening jacket by Lewis Leathers and Sid Vicious from Sex Pistols customizing his jacket with badges and pins.
Other famous leather wearers in the field of photography and fashion are
Robert Mapplethorpe’s self portrait below shot in 1983, fashion designer Vivienne Westwood and Rei Kawakubo who makes leather jacket a defining trademark for Comme des Garçons with her Junya Watanabe’s collections.