The Bomber


At the beginning of the 50s, war was over but military progress kept on. The bomber as we know it today, the MA-1, emerged along with new fighter planes. Issued from a long line of military jackets, the bomber constantly evolved to adapt to the needs of the army. The MA-1 replaced the B-15 who’s sheep wool collar was unfit for pilots’ helmets in addition to interfering with their parachute harnesses. Designed by the US Air Force, this new jacket was made of nylon, both outside and inside. Its inner lining would later become reversible, while a bright orange color was used in order to locate pilots in distress.

With more function than form, the bomber would still become popular thanks to the Vietnam War. Their official manufacturer, Alpha Industries, put it up for sale to the larger public as well as European armies. Later, in the 70s, it becomes one of the key pieces for the brand Schott along with the Perfecto. Little by little, it was adopted by subcultures like skinheads at the end of the 70s. But fashion has a tendency to get its chic inspiration from the streets. By taking its first steps into cinema, worn by Steve McQueen in “The Hunter” at the beginning of the 80s, the bomber began to dissociate itself with its skinhead image. Ironically, while it was first worn by skinhead groups, it would also be appreciated in hip-hop circles in the 90s.

Despite its reputation and total lack of allure, the bomber will never go out of style. This winter, Schott has teaming up with American College and releasing its favorite piece in 19 different colors. The bomber is shedding its austere green in favor of blue, yellow, and even pink. A definitive icon, it never ceases to reinvent itself through different trends and will never leave the male wardrobe. A symbol of the free male, a bit mysterious, worn by the biggest of stars like James Dean, David Beckham, or more recently Ryan Gosling who’s golden scorpion jacket got tongues wagging, the virile bomber is now getting more feminine and making a place for itself in ladies’ closets. The bomber is able to become couture and make itself desirable when worked on by a few inspired designers. Knit in faux leather at Balenciaga, covered in Prince de Galles prints at Saint-Laurent, the bomber is proving itself to be elegant in ways we never knew it was capable of; artsy, feminine, and even delicate.

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