We must admit that when on a recent constitutional through Henri Bendel we spied a display of Members Only jackets amidst the contemporary womenswear, we hoped it was a lingering April Fool’s Day joke. Sadly, the Manhattan luxury emporium is offering the relaunched brand with a straight face–and a “luxe take” masterminded by Kelli Delaney, former creative director of Star magazine. While the Members Only-at-Bendel’s scheme has the makings of a swell business school case study on how not to “leverage brand heritage,” the original is still going strong. Josh Sims recently penned a paean to the windbreaker (“Keep It Zipped”) in the Financial Times, and we highly recommend it. Among the notable zip-up outerwear wearers Sims mentions: John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, who “sports one pretty much every time he makes an announcement on an aircraft carrier.” But it’s another political style icon with whom Sims leads off the piece: Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
…It is the signature fawn-coloured cotton blouson jacket — known locally, natch, as the Ahmadine-jacket — that has elevated Ahmadinejad to clothes horse of the month. Iranian entrepreneurs have reportedly ordered container-loads of copies from Chinese manufacturers for loyal followers to wear.