Worn to Be Wild: The Black Leather Jacket at the Michele & Donald D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts

Worn to Be Wild: The Black Leather Jacket

June 22, 2013–September 22, 2013 D'Amour Museum of Fine Arts » Second Floor

Michele & Donald D’Amour Museum of Fine Arts, Second Floor

One of pop culture’s most enduring symbols, the black leather jacket is cultural shorthand for “cool.”

Everyone from rebel outsiders to fashion insiders have made their mark by slipping on this second skin. This special exhibition will trace the design history of the leather jacket along with the evolution of the garment from protective gear to revolutionary wearable. Worn primarily by aviators during WWI and WWII, the leather jacket landed back home to become the pièce de résistance of the biker. Functionally protective, it also smacked of individuals living at the margins of society. In spite of (or perhaps because of) its bad-boy, bad-girl image, the leather jacket remains one of the most iconic pieces of clothing whether on the runway, or on the run. Jackets on display in the exhibit will range from historic garb, hand-decorated specimens and haute couture to those worn by superstars past and present. Movie memorabilia, advertising materials, original art, and vintage motorcycles—including Elvis Presley’s 1956 K Model Harley-Davidson—provide greater context in which to consider the rebel’s most defining garment.

This exhibition is organized by the Harley-Davidson Museum® in partnership with EMP.