While companies like Alpha Industries in America and Barbour in the U.K. have been making versions of field jackets for years, the French and the Italians are creating some of the most compelling modern versions on the market today.
The history of the field jacket dates back long before the introduction of the U.S. military’s famed M-65, but it was this version that transformed the jacket from standard military issue into an anti-war political statement and later elevated to a perennial menswear staple. First issued during the Vietnam War (as an update to its predecessors the M-51 and M-43), the lightweight jacket had a concealable hood for warmth in the unpredictable climate of Southeast Asia and pockets and epaulets for carrying equipment. But it wasn’t long before it was adopted as an act of rebellion by anti-war protestors like John Lennon and engrained into popular culture by Robert DeNiro in Taxi Driver.
Now the field jacket is reintroduced in menswear collections season after season and recently, some of the best examples were European. From Berluti’s immaculate leather-trimmed design to Ermenegildo Zegna’s sleek grey style, luxury houses are creating the utilitarian jacket for life beyond rugged terrain.