The bomber jacket is taking off – with a twist

Competition has arrived for the ubiquitous boxy blazer from the no longer Humble bomber jacket. Once the exclusive domain of skaters and fans of the movie Top Gunthe single-zipped staple has been given a costly makeover from Gucci’s creative director Alessandro Michele and designer Miuccia Prada, with high street labels producing elevated versions just in time for the arrival of Top Gun: Maverick on cinema screens.

Like Tom Cruise in the delayed movie sequel, bomber jackets Landing in stores from the Paris and Milan runway are Barely recognizable, with flight Badges stitched to nylon replaced by vivid prints and Outrageous embellishments on silks and organic cotton.

Model Holly Magson from Chadwick agency in a Gucci bomber jacket and matching skirt from the Gucci Love Parade collection.Credit:Chloe Paul

“It’s definitely about taking a more elevated approach and using interesting materials,” says Natasha Gordon, designer of Australian label Clea. The bomber jacket was the centerpiece of Gordon’s debut collection. “It’s about harnessing the clean and modern properties of the bomber jacket and updating them. I use a double-faced jacquard, so it can be worn in the office with a matching skirt or teamed with jeans for a more casual approach. ”

The origin story of bomber jackets begins with the US military in the ’50s, when they were developed to replace bulky fleece-lined, leather jackets worn by fighter Pilots. The MA-1 is considered the blueprint, with high-quality nylon providing insulation in the cockpit, a knitted collar allowing room for a parachute harness and a single zip assisting with comfort in warmer conditions on the ground. Orange lining was developed for the signature sage green jackets to assist with visibility for Rescue Missions.

In the late ’60s the jacket was adopted by homophobic London skinheads as their unofficial uniform, before the queer community and Bands such as the Bronski Beat retaliated by reclaiming them in the’ 80s. Skaters, house music fans, sports stars and movie stars of the Top Gun era followed, but this season’s luxury upgrade has taken it to new levels and prices, with Prada’s sequinned version costing $ 6,700. At that price it’s being taken off the street and into VIP rooms.

Bombers away on the runway.  Australian model Julia Nobis in Prada ready-to-wear autumn / winter '22;  Versace ready-to-wear autumn / winter '22;  Off-White ready-to-wear autumn / winter '22.

Bombers away on the runway. Australian model Julia Nobis in Prada ready-to-wear autumn / winter ’22; Versace ready-to-wear autumn / winter ’22; Off-White ready-to-wear autumn / winter ’22.Credit:Getty, AP

“I’ve had a soft spot for a bomber jacket ever since the early ’90s when I’d wear my homeboy boyfriend’s Army disposal version with floral dresses and Doc boots,” says Justine Cullen, editor of the relaunched Australian edition of InStyle Magazine. “To me, they never really lost their appeal, but there’s no doubting that they’re the jacket shape of the moment, Net-a-Porter alone is stocking 81 different styles this season.”


The perfectly oversized Prada Re-Nylon version is the modern classic, but there’s some fun to be had with more experimental shapes this season, too – cropped, leather, puff-sleeved, satin, endlessly fun colors. They’re versatile and practical – now they are waterproof in some ways, Handy for these La Niña times – but the real Joy is how they add an immediate youthful coolness to any look. I love the juxtaposition of a bomber thrown nonchalantly over a more dressy, grown up outfit and heels; it makes everything look so much less contrived. ”

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