Style / November 2019

Chapal's new season outerwear takes flight

Chapal’s new season collection not only exudes the spirit of exploration, independence and bravery but also offers scope for dressier versatility.

By the time she disappeared somewhere over the central Pacific Ocean, during a doomed attempt to make a circumnavigational flight of the globe in a Lockheed Model 10-E Electra, Amelia Earhart’s legacies included becoming the first female aviator to fly solo across the Atlantic (for which she received the U.S. Distinguished Flying Cross), a wealth of bestselling books about her aviation experiences, and the formation of The Ninety-Nines, an organisation that provides professional opportunities to women in aviation. An addition to Earhart’s legacy is a tobacco suede jacket, inspired by the first person to fly solo from Hawaii to the U.S. mainland. It is made by Chapal, the French producer of leather jackets and coats whose backstory more than qualifies it to cut audacious pieces such as this. Originally founded in France in 1832 as a tannery (a facility it still has in-house), Chapal’s early contributions to aviation fabric technology — including ways to improve shearling’s water-resistance — prompted military authorities to commission the house to provide jackets for the French air force during WWI. Chapal also developed, patented and provided the famous waterproof shearling that you now find on the B3 jackets for the US Air Force during World War II. Helmed by Jean-François Bardinon (representing the sixth generation of the family) since the early 1980s, the brand also offers footwear as well as jackets that manifest Bardinon’s love of vintage motoring — well worth checking out if you share his affection for an ilk of outerwear that has a hefty Britpop/mod tinge to it.

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