The notion of a world’s best jacket is subjective and prone to change every few days, but some Stone Island efforts, the legendary Double Goose V-panel bomber and the North Face’s Steep Tech Work Jacket don’t quite match the power of the tasselled number that a self-esteem free Homer Simpson drooled over, but ran pretty close in their day. Anybody who had $440 to drop on an extreme ski jacket co-designed by Scott Schmidt (a real life version of that Polo suicide ski silhouette) in 1991 was definitely in a powerful financial position. The purple, black and yellow is a trinity of high visibility wrong that turns out right and that five-zipper ventilation is ludicrous but a key element of a jacket that needed some guidance to fully feel the benefits long before the days of Acronym Vimeos. Cordura reinforcement and the Sunspark III Ultrex fabric seemed to mean serious business.
The Smear Jacket, Apogee Jacket, gloves, full suits and the later Access Jacket all fired my imagination, but that Worker in those colours is the one (though there’s some sample teals that are nearly as bananas) with the Michael Jackson levels of zipper. But I’m no TNF connoisseur (those dudes know the lines that preceded Scott’s signature pieces). Then like that, Steep Tech was gone and a decade of extra yuppification occurred. I last saw a Steep Tech on sale after they reissued them a few years back; a sad-looking Apogee hanging on the shelves of a store on Broadway with two markdowns on the label already. I tried it on after spending minutes working out the straitjacket-like fastenings, I tried it on and looked like a dickhead — I was over a decade too late to the party and I wasn’t a skier or NYC-based shoplifter. Some things are better left in the past with their rose-tinted glow added to already gaudy colourways. Stone Island’s more experimental efforts aged a lot better.
Just as I ran out of topics to cover, along comes via friend of this blog and the man behind the excellent Smoking Section, Mr. John Gotty, with news of a Dapper Dan interview on the Life+Times site — Alpo’s Louis Vuitton snorkel might join the aforementioned roll call of all-time outerwear. Go to Gotty’s site right now and watch it, because I’m damned if I’ll cockblock his traffic by just posting it here. It’s an amazing story of a man finding a niche, working the angles against a racist fashion infrastructure. I never knew the Tyson/Mitch Green tussle’s publicity was a spotlight that led to lawsuits either. Even better, there’s an official Dan site with pictures like this on it as well as the changing face of that iconic (and I feel that overused term is relevant here) spot’s shopfront.
Shouts to Porkys1982 on YouTube for uploading a high quality version of “sensational rap crew” Beastie Boys’ appearance on Soul Train back in 1990. R.I.P. Ad-Rock and Don Cornelius. There’s over 40 hours of Beastie Boys footage on his Vimeo including some 1987 tour rehearsals, interviews, ladies in cages and plenty more.