“Modern Armor”, charcoal on board, tie-silk mat, self-made frame, 6″w molding, with applied leather, cut from vintage jackets, industrial zippers, grommets and rabbits foot, 50″h x 43″w
The drawing “Modern Armor” is about the icon that this jacket became as a symbol of defiance and teenage angst from the ’50s right through the entire Rock’n Roll era. Initially they were worn by post WWII vets riding their bikes on the west coast who morphed into the Hell’s Angles.
In 1953 the movie “The Wild One”, starring Marlon Brando, debuted. It wasn’t long after until every Army & Navy store across the country had them for sale and every kid wanted one. It wasn’t just for bikers or a hoods (hoodlums) any more, everyone wanted to look Marlon, James Dean or Elvis, and the jacket was key to that look.
Over the years of course and almost 40, (but never out of style) and now reinvented by the top fashion designers, it became a fancy expensive dress up item being shown in the most prestigious shops in NYC, London, Paris, Tokyo, LA. and more, now selling in the thousands.
Why then “Modern Armor”?
Whilst astride your horse, in your steel armor you were a mini tank of your day. However, once you were knocked off you horse or a wasp flew into your visor and you were down it was unlikely you got up to fight another battle. So therefore the armor outlives the man and although obsolete, no longer having its chivalric meaning or the bold protection it once seemed to have, it becomes an iconic vestige of its ancient past.
The motorcycle jacket too, of its day and era, destined from its roots to become a frivolous fashion icon, passes from being a second protective skin for its wearer and becomes like the armor more like costume and only a reflection and a vestige of the once ominous meaning it had.
So here the strength of the fashion world turns the motorcycle jacket on its head and into to an Icon. The glories of the fashion world.