This summer (June 16 through Sept. 3) the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee will tell the story of the black leather jacket through its special exhibit, Worn to be Wild: The Black Leather Jacket.
From pilots to bikers, rock stars to stunt men, rebellious youth to the fashion-forward, this iconic piece of clothing has long served as an expression of style and story.
The black leather jacket, the uniform of cool, sparks a feeling, projects an image, and has evolved and stood the test of time for nearly a century.
Throughout the run of this new summer exhibit, more than 100 artifacts will be featured, including dozens of jackets, many boasting intriguing back stories. The items included in the exhibit come from Harley-Davidson’s archives, collectors, and include jackets worn by celebrities and pop culture icons such as Elvis Presley, Harry Shearer (Derek Smalls) from Spinal Tap and Taylor Lautner (Jacob) of the Twilight series. In addition to the eclectic collection of jackets, the exhibit will also use motorcycles, photographs, film footage, printed literature, advertisements and music to explore how a single article of clothing became so ingrained in our popular culture.
A noteworthy exhibit, this is the first time the leather jacket has been showcased from this perspective, taking visitors through its entire history and evolution. Harley-Davidson is in a unique position to tell this story; its influence on and connection to the black leather jacket has remained constant since the dawn of motorcycling. Unlike many fashion exhibits that focus solely on the designer, this exhibit in many ways showcases the wearer, a vast cross-section of people – dating back to the 1920s – with their own distinctive style, experience and story.
This exhibit will be appealing for about everyone, whether young or old, and whether a fan of history, movies, music, fashion, art, motorcycles, or popular culture. Worn to be Wild: The Black Leather Jacket runs June 16 through Sept. 3, 2012. Harley-Davidson Museum. (picture @harley-davidson museum courtesy to Cyril Huze)