Craft / September 2017

How Valstar Took Flight

Valstar has established itself as one of the most notable producers of the A1 jacket, utilising more than 100 years of experience in exquisite design and craft.

The Valstarino jacket in chocolate brown. Photo by James Munro.

Garments born in the military tend to be superior to other clothing. This is largely because they’re so often designed for heroic and daring purposes whilst remaining entirely functional. There’s a purity to this notion, which one can easily admire; military clothing is honest and humble. Such garments are constructed from materials that aim to see the wearer through thick and thin — regardless of what the enemy or nature throws. Militarywear has never been concerned with fashion trends, and thus often becomes devoid of a timescale or trend period. Many garments conceived in the military are timeless in design, and a great example of a jacket that fits this raw criteria is the iconic Valstarino by Valstar.

Valstar was founded in 1911 in Milan, otherwise known as “the cradle of style and fashion”, according to Matteo Bozzalla, CEO of the Italian heritage brand. Valstar is said to be the first company to produce raincoats in Italy, but today it’s better known for the Valstarino jacket, which The Rake is now proudly holding two sumptuous versions of. The Valstarino, created in 1935, is a garment that boasts exquisite levels of craftsmanship, an uncompromising use of the finest skins and materials, plus a silhouette that, for 90 years, has remained thoroughly on-point. As a testament to the brand's expertise, it was recognised with Italian royal warrants, becoming the official supplier of HRH Princess of Savoy in 1939 and the Duke of Ancona in 1942.

The Valstarino is Valstar’s take on the A1 flight jacket. Designed and standardised by the U.S. Air Force in 1927, it was originally made from capeskin. It’s arguably the most iconic outerwear garment worn by the U.S. Air Force, the only other exception being the G-1 Bomber. From a design point of view, the A1 is very simple, which is one of the reasons why it boasts ‘timeless’ status - you can’t improve on ‘less is more’. Slim-fitting through the waist, this jacket has two flap-pockets and buttons up the front, while the knitted cuffs and waist keep the warmth in. The funnel-collar, which also helps to insulate, is finished with a two-button closure.

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Benedict Browne

Benedict is The Rake's Associate Style Editor.