Tuesday, 14 September 2010


As London Fashion Week came to a close with Burberry’s Cadet Girl’s show in February, the industry was abuzz with the news of the show’s stand out pieces, nine lambskin lined flying jackets. A number of fashion editors claim they knew aviator mania was due to begin a few days earlier when French Vogue’s Carine Roitfeld ran backstage at the end of Christopher Kane to pull a flying jacket off its hanger. It is unsurprising then that the shearling lined, chocolate Burberry jacket priced at £1895 is sold out everywhere. The flight jacket (the aviator) conjures up images of the elegant era when Amelia Earhart ruled the skies and Katherine Hepburn shone on screen.

The flying jacket is an adaptable piece that goes with everything from camel trousers to tea dresses. Burberry’s designer, Christopher Bailey, even went as far as to state that he felt the jacket is as versatile as the brand’s iconic trench, commenting on its ‘strong and sexy, masculine and feminine’ appeal. Luckily for those of us who cannot afford to spend a thousand pounds on a jacket, the high street immediately jumped on the trend, creating a number of affordable alternatives. From Topshop to Matalan there are a number of styles available, enabling us all to channel Kelly Mcgillis as the weather becomes colder.

(Burberry, me in a Topshop aviator, Kelly Mgillis in Top Gun)

For those willing to spend more than the standard price, the high street has created genuine sheepskin, designer quality jackets for a fraction of the cost. It is particularly surprising to note that despite its expensive appearance, the luxurious flying jacket on the cover of Vogue’s October supplement is £250 from Next. Topshop’s (£325) version, labelled the ‘piece of the season,’ sold out in both black and chocolate within minutes of appearing online but is soon to hit the shelves again. Similarly, ASOS has created pieces of designer quality including the Premium Shearling Aviator Jacket (£350) and gorgeous Natural Coloured Aviator (£290). However, there are still a number of other options available, Warehouse is due to release their ‘super soft, shearling jacket’ imminently in camel and chocolate for £300. My personal favourites are the very warm looking Whistles Shearling Jacket (£350) and Hobbs’ NW3 Flight Jacket (£349) which comes in a sumptuous chocolate brown with thick shearling lining.

(Topshop sheepskin flying jacket £325 to be restocked imminently)

Despite lusting after these jackets, as a recent graduate I am looking to achieve this trend at a more reasonable price. After searching for a furry collared jacket since Alexa Chung was spotted in Acne’s delectable Rita 2, I was delighted to spot ASOS’ identical Leather Aviator Jacket with Detachable Faux Fur Collar (£150). There are also a number of faux leather jackets in this style, including the Topshop Fleece Collar PU Biker Jacket (£58), which would look gorgeous with jeans and a floaty shirt. However, after lusting after Burberry’s beauties I decided that only a bigger collar would do. A number of jackets fit this criteria including the H&M Leather Shearling Jacket (£149.99) spotted on Anja Rubik, although it is in massive demand due to its innate similarity to 3.1 Philip Lim’s aviator. For those wanting to channel Earhart, Marks and Spencer’s Limited Collection Jacket (£89) has a perfect huge collar. Oasis’s Leather Aviator (£150) a mix between an Acne and Burberry jacket, was a very tempting option due to its washed out design and cream collar. I was also attracted to Zara’s Flight Jacket (£39.99) as its camel shade ensures it is a slightly different take on the trend. However, after admiring the press preview of Matalan’s Faux Leather Aviator (£30) and then discovering it was not being released until October, I stumbled across Topshop’s Faux Sheepskin Flying Jacket (£78). This is not only reasonably priced and excellent quality (I was not the girl stroking the sheepskin one for comparison in Knightsbridge), it is able to dress up the most mundane outfit.

(Oasis leather aviator £150)

(Matalan) jacket £30 to be released in October

For those searching for the perfect flying jacket, do not despair this is only a small selection of the styles all over the high street. So thinkTop Gun in 2010 by wearing an aviator jacket, though maybe leave out Tom Cruise and the sunglasses.

By Harriet Tisdall

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