From The Fonz to Hell’s Angels, there’s no bigger symbol of ‘cool’ than the leather jacket.
This October, EMP will chronicle the fascinating story and evolution of what is arguably one of the most iconic pieces of clothing of the 20th century when it opens Worn to be Wild: The Black Leather Jacket.
This major exhibition will feature nearly 60 leather jackets once worn by rock legends, film stars, runway models, and World War II fighter pilots. The exhibit is presented in partnership with the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee and runs through Jan. 13, 2013 at EMP. This marks the first time the complete history of the black leather jacket is being showcased, giving visitors a glimpse into all facets of how the jacket has become a main staple in popular culture.
Worn to be Wild kicks off with Project Leather, a fashion show organized by EMP featuring works by emerging designers from the Pacific Northwest. The show will take place on Oct. 20 at EMP. Tickets go on sale in mid-August.
“This exhibition traces the black leather jacket from its utilitarian roots in the 1920s, protecting bikers and pilots from the elements; to its adoption by celebrities, rock stars and counterculture youth as a symbol of rebellion and cool; to its modern day designs seen on runways and in stores around the world,” said Jacob McMurray, Senior Curator, EMP Museum.
The jackets featured in Worn to be Wild range from the first leather jacket made by Harley-Davidson in 1929 and other early riding jackets, to artfully adorned punk jackets. Hollywood plays a big role in the collection, featuring jackets worn on the screen and stage by stars like Elvis, Fergie, Arnold Schwarzenegger (Terminator 2), Gene Vincent, Harry Shearer (Spinal Tap), and more. High fashion also stakes its claim in the exhibit with five outfits and leather jackets on loan from French designer Jean Paul Gaultier, as well as jackets by Gianni Versace, Jeremy Scott, and several other designers.
“Worn to be Wild uses an amazing array of garments with unique stories to depict the role the black leather jacket has played in popular culture,” said Jim Fricke, Curatorial Director at the Harley-Davidson Museum. “The combination of motorcycling, pop culture and fashion will appeal to a wide audience.”
With materials on loan from around the world – including key pieces from EMP, The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, and Jean Paul Gaultier – the exhibit is the first comprehensive look at the impact of this iconic jacket.
In addition to the jackets, the exhibition will feature classic motorcycles including a 1920 JH-D pristine condition early Harley model and Elvis Presley’s 1956 Harley-Davidson KH motorcycle. Another Harley will be on-site for visitors to sit on for photos.
For ticket information, visit EMP’s website
Photo courtesy of EMP