5 Most Iconic Leather Jackets Worn by Musicians in Movies
Ever since Johnny Strabler oozed cool wearing a leather jacket in the classic motorcycle gang movie The Wild One, leather jackets have become synonymous with film characters who lived on the edge. From the classic Perfecto black leather jacket to Michael Jackson’s futuristic ensembles, the silver screen has had a long love affair with one of fashion’s most iconic and deconstructed articles of clothing. And as these below cases show, musicians have gladly followed in this tradition when on the silver screen.
Joey Ramone in Rock ‘n’ Roll High School
The 1980 musical comedy Rock ‘n’ Roll High School starring The Ramones was one of the first movies to give punk rock a mainstream platform. Joey Ramone took it as an opportunity to grab the classic Perfecto leather from Strabler, and effortlessly make it his own.
KISS in Detroit Rock City
Detroit Rock City is easily one of the best and most popular rock ‘n’ roll movies of all time. Variety called it “a high-water mark in the burgeoning subgenre of Product Placement Cinema.” The misadventures of a gang of KISS Army recruits culminate in a concert where KISS is decked out in glorious leather and metal armor. A fantastical and dark twist on the classic black leather accessory.
Alice Cooper in Wayne’s World
If you’ve seen Wayne’s World, you no doubt remember Alice Cooper’s short, impromptu history lesson about the origins of Milwaukee. During that cameo he wore a heavily-patched Perfecto-style John Richmond leather jacket. This famous jacket was incidentally stolen during a raid on the Alice Cooper Archives, and went missing for some time. Blabbermouth reported that it was eventually surrendered to the LAPD and returned to its rightful owner.
David Bowie in Labyrinth
The movie Labyrinth is as much a fantasy movie as it is a showcase of David Bowie at his peak as a fashion icon. We can’t think of anyone else who can bring Jareth the Goblin King to life with as much sultry swagger as Bowie brought to the silver screen. Each costume change throughout the film is a reminder that this man can pull off anything, including the avant-garde leather jackets that are regular fare for the Goblin King.
Michael Jackson in Captain EO
In a way, Captain EO is Michael Jackson’s Labyrinth. But instead of a goblin king, the King of Pop stars as a space captain in charge of a ragtag group of puppet aliens. As the crew encounters trouble, Captain EO unleashes dance and music-based powers that transforms hostile guards into backup dancers, his crew into musical instruments, a villainous lair into a peaceful temple, and the entire rotten planet into a verdant and gorgeous paradise. Michael Jackson’s red Thriller jacket may be more iconic, but the white leather outfit he wears in this film bears witness to a much more fantastic display of pure pop magic.
The very fact that we’re still talking about the King of Pop is a testament to his undying legacy. Everywhere on the internet there’s evidence of MJ’s influence as a fashion icon. Beyoncé’s leather jacket at her Super Bowl performance was clearly inspired by MJ’s own halftime outfit. The MJ’s HIStory statue chose that attire to honor Jackson. Such is the status of that particular outfit that it is often also used as the clothing of choice for companies promoting the singer. Foxy Bingo have multiple games dedicated to famous musicians, and in their Michael Jackson game King of Pop they feature a digital version of the halftime outfit. Even fashion giant Supreme just recently released an MJ-inspired line of street wear. And last but definitely not least of all, the infamous Kanye West has been known to wear a red leather jacket highly reminiscent of the Thriller jacket.
Whether you’re looking for a more avant-garde MJ-inspired look or a simple but undeniably rock n’ roll outfit a la Johnny Castle, make sure to wear it with the proper attitude. Remember: the secret to pulling off any leather jacket is absolute confidence.