Strolling the Pitti Uomo in Florence in the first week of this year we discovered Spiewak & Sons from New York with their latest collection called Golden Fleece. Their truly remarkable new collection of parkas, pea coats, and deck & flight jackets is for real men only. Losers not apply. Or perhaps we could say that any man wearing one of these gems will never be a loser, but will have graduated into the realm of the classic man of action, endeavor, endurance, commitment, and determination. Think Ernest Shackleton – an explorer, Eisenhower – a field general, or perhaps even Che Guevara – a rebel.
The Spiewak N3-B Parka comes in different colors, in brown, navy blue, and in that light grayish military sort of green which you recognize immediately when you see it. They are durable, resistant, and either made of authentic flight satin (used by the US airforce), cotton – nylon, or waxed cotton. The cotton waxing is done by Martexin for extra heavy weather and the cotton – nylon items are produced only in limited edition. This model was originally developed in the 1950’s. Of course such a timeless piece of wear-and-no-tear deserves a critical code name, as if it could be classified as by default in case it goes missing during time of action: The illustrious N3-B.
The next collection item needs no introduction as it is such a classic that it has barely changed in more than 200 years: it is the double breasted Melton wool Navy Pea Coat, of which the brochure simply claims that it ranks as “one of the most classic and functional coats ever produced.” Indeed this model harks back even to the 16th century when seamen and ship captains of yore were roaming the seven seas, at a time when the world was still not fully explored and still full of dangers and adventures both great and small. It is the type of jacket you will draw as a ten-year old when asked to produce the image of the captain of a ship- but don’t forget the sailor’s hat and a smoking pipe!
The Navy Deck Jacket (the BDMOTP favorite) was originally first produced and developed in the 1940’s for navy crew and vessel workers and is made again of Martexin waxed cotton. Because it is shorter than the pea coat and the parka (like also the flight jacket) it allows for more movement of the body. It clearly is a jacket ready and fit for action; for a man on the deck on the high seas, ready to roll with the waves. Besides it’s wax it has a special outer layer of cloth for protection from cold, rain, wind, and salty waves. Original code name: N1.
And that brings us to the final part of this small tour of action coats and jackets: the stuff of legend – not only for those who wore them during their endeavors, but also both in movie & fashion, and probably everyone’s favorite: The MA-1 flight jacket. From Obama to Kanye West, from Tom Cruise to Jimmy Dean, from Marlon Brando (On the Waterfront) to Paul Newman, from Steve McQueen to Jean-Paul Belmondo, from Shia LaBeouf to Prince Harry: any man with a respectable claim to a life of action, whether in truth or in fiction,loves the flight jacket! This is surely a group that spans the generations. The MA-1 is not just a classic, it is a timeless piece of men’s wear for the ages!
But we will leave you the shocker for the end: just compare the random screenshot of Niko Bellic of GTA-IV infamy above trying on a flight jacket, with the picture of Steve McQueen in the caption of this article. There is almost precisely 50 years between the time of the two different images. Both men are wearing a flight jacket. One is a man of virtual action in a post-modern dystopian video game. The other is a movie action hero in a classic film. But they have the exact same body language, the very same facial expression, the same look, the same stare even. Only the hairstyle is different. And they are dressed in the same flight jacket. Coincidence? BDMOTP does not think so.
In the satirical universe of GTA-IV a large collection of action coats and jackets can be found in the ‘Russian Shop’ on Mohawk Ave, Hove Beach, Broker in Liberty City (which must be a take on Brighton Beach, New York in all probability). The storefront of the shop proclaims in Cyrillic that here you can buy the “latest fashion novelties.” There, flight jackets, woodland coats and parkas come in the different colors of gray, sand and black and you can purchase one good flight jacket for the excellent virtual price of $26. When you pay at the counter your virtual account is being accurately debited, and when you are about to leave, the cashier bids you goodbye, and tells you with a fat Russian accent:
“Makes you look very strong!”
Posted by Sandro Joo and photos by Yulia Gromova.