Welcome to Kerbastic

Looks the 29 October 2013 by Romano as "the garagerocker"

This look is different on many points. Firstly because it is my first of the season. Secondly because it features a guest. Delphine is a blogger as well, a new neighbour living in Brittany, writing on Ladyblogue. Delphine isn’t a fashion blogger and she is not used to pose on photos. But she was curious about discovering how we worked on a shooting. I think this experience allowed her to realise what upstream work it represented and spend a nice afternoon (trying not to laugh on photos).

domaine de kerbastic

landowner domain

reiss jacket

Thirdly, this photo shoot was made with the English brand Reiss which I knew from my previous trips in the UK. I remember the first time I entered in one of their stores, it was in Cardiff during a trip in Wales 2 years ago. This look features 3 pieces from Reiss. I really liked this green jacket, halfway between a trench-coat and a hunting jacket. Style, fit, everything was perfect to throw myself in an adventure! Reiss can’t be found in France. When I have chosen the jeans, it was from their online store as well, I couldn’t try them. A nice surprise came then, they fitted really well and I liked their color. The third piece from Reiss is a pair of boots, a shape in harmony with this outfit and the whole photo shoot’s atmosphere.

hidden shrubs

reiss boots

into the gardens

the master of kerbastic

hedus cardigan

frye bag

Finally, this photo shoot is out of the ordinary as it was took by Romano who was here to spend holidays in Brittany for the first time. For such an event, whe had chosen an exceptional setting, the Domaine the Kerbastic with a charming hotel, beautiful gardens and a chapel. An ideal place to escape from reality and imagine ourselves being rich landowners walking in their property. Welcome to the domain!

the pianist

hidden in the castle

ladyblogue

man and wife

Cap: Stetson
Trench-coat: Reiss
Bag: Frye
Cardigan: Hèdus
Shirt: Maison Standards
Jeans: Reiss
Boots: Reiss

Delphine :
Coat: Sessun
Blouse: By Monshowroom
Skirt: IRO
Boots: Vintage

New Balance 998 Navy

Once again this year New Balance has announced another colorway for its iconic 998 sneaker. Firstly released in 1993, this shape is known for being the first featuring the ABZORB technology, a sole mixing foam and rubber for a better shock absorbtion and more comfort from the heel and the toes. For a long time, this shape has remained restricted for the Japanese market, New Balance has decided to make the 998 revive for a wider public relocating the production in their American factories again. This year saw many nice colorways being released for the 998, this is another one following that rule. The 998MB features a navy suede and mesh upper with scattered burgundy and white details. On the tongue is written “Made in USA”, a proof for quality. Not so long ago, it would have been impossible to find this model in Europe, fortunately, times are changing! It is available at Hanon in pre-order – act quick before they sell out!

new balance m998mb

new balance 998 tongue

new balance 998mb

new balance 998 abzorb sole

retail price   £139

at Hanon

On the run

Looks the 25 October 2013 by Romano as "the garagerocker"

A thug, a crook, a gangster, a man whose lifestyle is made of infractions… this one is rather a little yobbo. A stray scoundrel, a pickpocket, a rascal armed with razorblades, stealing to drink and clothe. Living in this waste ground, labyrinth of detritus which have become his marked territory over time. Desocialized, sour, stay away from him or he will draw his weapon in a split second. When he is not pickpocketing, he spends endless minutes gazing upon this wide empty area standing in front of him, staring at the few onlookers with his sharp eye, gulping down adulterated drinks trying to feel warm. He has spotted a new victim. Damn! It looks like he picked to wrong person…

romano rock 08

romano rock 12

romano rock 13

romano rock 17

Extracting from the obstacle to his freedom, he’s taking to his heels with a sharp move. Running for his life, pulling himself up a wall – yes, it’s sport! He has now lost his pursuer, a peace officer. He doesn’t care about the peace, the only thing that matters right now is to find some place to stay for the night. It’s been a while he doesn’t feel a shell-shocked or the adrenaline anymore, he will sleep peacefully tonight.

romano rock 06

romano rock 03

romano rock 07

romano rock 22

romano rock 18

romano rock 24

“For this look, I took out my two year old APC jeans, those we used for the article about how to wash raw jeans. I am wearing a black leather Perfecto jacket as well, in a comtemporary revisited version compared to the original, without a belt. Under that is an animal printed shirt, still in dark shades to leave all the attention on the jacket. At my feets, for lack a pair of boots to give a more “biker” atmosphere, I used my old pair of Vans to add the outfit some color. The accessories, the trinkets and the bandana, were evident as they fitted perfectly to this look.”

romano rock 25

romano rock 29

romano rock 30

Perfecto: Schott
T-shirt: Sixth June
Jeans: APC
Trainers: Vans
Black Bandana
Comb: Kent
Ring ASOS et Hyde
Socks: Happy Socks

New Man Trousers

When I have found these trousers on Menlook, I told myself “incedible, New Man is back!” (the brand was very popular in France during the 1970s). Since then, I have made a few research to realise that the brand never really dissapeared. But the company’s buy out in 2010 with a new CEO allow us talking about a coming back. Today, I hereby present you my favourite item of their autumn-winter 2013 collection, these trousers which made me rediscover the “both way logo brand”.

newman chinos pockets

Presentation

What I like the most on these trousers is the color. It is written “brown” in the description. I would have said “brick” or “rust”, whatever, I like the color. Neither chinos nor jeans, they are made of a quite thick cotton drill with a 2% elasthane to give a stretch fabric. The cut is straight with a slightly tapered leg. New Man designers have made strong stylistic choices on these trousers with buttonned vertical pockets and cuffs at the bottom.

new man chinos back

Test

Reception of the product, the color is as expected, and I tried to give you a true render with the pictures. The only think I had a doubt about was the cut. A nice surprise was to find out how the trousers fitted perfectly. I really like these tapered fits leaving some comfort from the thighs (yes sir, I’m sporty!).

new man chinos cuffs

new man chinos

These trousers are really perfect for the mid-season and match greatly boots (like the picture above previewing a shooting we’ll publish next week). The price is average for something we could usually call nice trousers, €119. I guess they’ll be more decent on sales. I really can’t tell about the rest for the moment, but this only piece of clothing definitely worth it! Any opinion about something in the collection you would have seen in store?

new man chinos boots

retail price   €119

at New Man

The history of the biker jacket

Origins the 21 October 2013 by Romano as "the garagerocker"

The biker jacket. A garment that oozes so much charisma, that you might decide it’s easier to avoid it completely. I haven’t got the shoulders for it, you tell yourself. It’s making too much of a statement, I’m not that sort of person. As if by wearing it you’ll be sticking a Post-it note on your forehead and labelling yourself as…something. As if this type of jacket was only worn by members of certain social groups, or rock stars, or movie stars, and as if society was still not ready to accept the biker jacket for what it is. Here at French Truckers we totally love the biker jacket – but we have to admit it also scares the living daylights out of us. And for that reason, ladies and gentlemen, we hereby present to you the story of the Perfecto:

schott family factory 1989

The story started in 1913 with Irving and Jack Schott in the US. These brothers, sons of Russian immigrants, founded a waterproof clothing company. The first garments they created ware waxed coats in the basement of their apartment in Lower East Side, New York.

It wasn’t until the 1920s that the Schott Bros began to specialise in motorbike jackets. The period following the First World War had seen a huge surge in motorbike transport, particularly in North America. It was generally men who began taking up the two-wheelers, and they tended to wear military jackets for the occasion. These mid-thigh-lengthed buttoned coats, sometimes with mandarin collars, were fitted at the waist, sometimes belted. Because of the war, the government had made farmers hand over horse skins that could be used to make uniforms. Several of these skins were tanned and made into aviator jackets, which were then available in excess once the war had ended.

schott debut factory

Business was booming for the Schott brothers, who had begun to outgrow their New York flat. In 1928 they moved to new, bigger premises in New Jersey. It was that same year, the story goes, that the Long Island store Harley Davidson asked Irving Schott to make a sturdy, durable jacket that would protect from the cold and rain. So Irving sourced some thick cow skin and, with a cigar stuck to his lips, set to work designing a motorcycle jacket with a zip fastener just like the ones that had featured on Lee jeans since the start of the previous decade. The leather jacket he produced would be the first ever to feature a zip. It was also of a much higher quality than those that had been worn by soldiers during the First World War. Irving named the new jacket after his favourite cigar: the Perfecto.

schott perfecto label

From that moment onwards, leather companies began to produce jackets on a larger scale. Schott, Indian and Harley Davidson created jackets called Cycle Champ, Cycle Queen, Ranger and Rangerette, and sold them in their stores. This was the 1930s, and the practical side of these garments meant they quickly became a must-have for motorcyclists. The most fashionable design of all featured the D-pocket, the asymmetric front pocket in the shape of a D which almost all the brands adopted: Buco, Hercules, Langlitz Leathers and Lewis Leathers.

avro d pocket leather

The Perfecto remained relatively unknown during the Second World War, upstaged by the aviator jackets which were very much in the limelight. In post-war US, young people continued to idolise rock ‘n’ roll stars and joyriders. And, having witnessed war atrocities first-hand and toyed with death once too many times, some aviators and tank crews formed motorcycle clubs which would provide an outlet for all the pent-up negativity inside them, a means of letting off steam.

One such club was to become more notorious than the others. The Boozefighters Motorcycle Club (BFMC), from California, started a brawl in the small town of Hollister one day. The fight – over a trivial matter which naturally became a bigger issue because of the amount of alcohol that had been consumed – was picked up by the famous Life Magazine. It is claimed this fight went on to inspire the film The Wild One, which changed the cultural face of America and of the rest of the world too – thanks to a young, unknown actor who would later become the most mythical characters in the history of cinema, Marlon Brando. It also meant a certain type of jacket would become a permanent fixture on the dress code of the country’s youth.

boozefighters

boozefighters 2

boozefighter 3

Schott brought out the first of the models which would later become legendary. The 613 One Star first appeared towards the end of the 1940s. Made of horse leather, this jacket had a number of features which purists would use to distinguish it from other models, such as a star on each epaulette and an absence of buttons on the end of its collar.

Schott 613

The 1950s saw the birth of the 618. This model was almost identical to the 613 but without the stars on the shoulders, and with logoed buttons on the collar. It was this model which would launch the Perfecto into popular culture – and the one Marlon Brando wears in the film. As his fans will know, the jacket worn by Brando is supposed to be a 618 but actually features stars on the epaulettes. Legend has it his jacket was custom-made to look like the 613, the model worn by the Boozefighters. Another legend has it that retailers of the time had problems with people stealing the stars off the 613 following the film’s success. One thing we know for sure is that the Perfecto, the ultimate biker’s jacket, the symbol of rebellious and delinquent youth, had been born. Such was its symbolism, a number of schools in the UK and US banned the jackets completely in the 1950s.

marlon brando the wild one perfecto

Marlon Brando in The Wild One

james dean perfecto

In the 1950s, it was rare to see James Dean without his Perfecto biker jacket on. Here he wears a 613, which featured buttons to attach a fur collar to

elvis perfecto

Elvis was another member of the Perfecto club

From 1960 onwards, the biker jacket underwent a few more changes. It would now be made from beef leather, with certain characteristics on its labelling and cut, plus the angle of its pockets. The 613 and 618 became less popular while racing jackets personified by Steve McQueen were all the rage. Then came the 1970s. In this period of rebellion, hordes of young people turned against a society that was so idealistic, it had stopped being realistic. The punk movement was born. And it was the punk icons of this period that put the biker jacket once more right at centre stage, if you’ll excuse the pun. In the States, The Ramones sported the 613 One Star while in the UK, Sex Pistol bassist Sid Vicious insulted the Queen while wearing Schott’s new model, the 118.

The 118, which came out in 1977, was similar to the other models save a few minor differences. It was made from calfskin, which is much softer and therefore less protective – and less suitable for motorbike riding. It also had a slightly different cut.

ramones perfecto

Punk band The Ramones are probably the biggest biker jacket wearers of the last 50 years – or perhaps of all time

sid vicious perfecto
Sid Vicous, another big Perfecto fan

renaud perfecto 1970s

In France, singer-songwriter Renaud was perhaps the most famous wearer of the biker jacket

BIKER JACKETS TODAY

In today’s world, the biker jacket or Perfecto is still a highly popular garment. From 2000 onwards it image began to mellow out a lot and wearing it became more of a fashion statement. The work of many designers had steered it away from its original function and therefore the ‘hooligan’ connotations that always came with it. But wearing a biker jacket still makes a statement of being on the margins of society. In many people’s eyes this jacket has kept its image as something worn by the bad boys of this world – with many opting not to wear it at all simply because they’re a bit scared.

So no, bikers don’t always wear a leather jacket, and yes, the Perfecto can be worn by anyone – no matter what social group they class themselves as. But biker jackets still convey a certain mysticism, which remains terrifying for some. As Schott celebrates 100 years of existence, he who deigns to wear a biker jacket continues to exude a certain…je ne sais quoi.

To celebrate 100 years of the biker jacket, we’ll publish a special shopping selection all about motorcycle jackets.

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