Métropolitain as a Genre
The Vanson Metro Collection (or simply, Metro Collection)
Inspired by our international customers from around the world, the Vanson Metro Collection is a fusion of the motorcycle world with today’s urban scene. We see this happening from Rome to Tokyo, London to Paris, spreading from one city to the next, from one country to another. In every case, the two worlds are running increasingly in parallel. It is as though the fashion world is celebrating the personal statement aspect of motorcycling.
But where to begin the narrative…
Certainly the theme of leather as a desirable material runs deeply through the ages. It is useful therefore to pick a jumping-in point to begin a narrative. For our time, WW2 is a good starting point as it identifies a common point of change for so many things. It is interesting to contrast the powerfully regimented and sinister look of the Axis forces with the more relaxed, independent “can do” attitude of the Allies. Returning veterans were the impetus of “bikers” in the modern sense of the word…they brought their leather jackets with them into civilian life.
The connotations of the military uniforms of WW2 can be seen in the linear development of what we call today the “Motorcycle Look”, the “Field Jacket Look” and of course, the “Bomber Jacket Look”.
It can be argued that motorcycle gear as an aspect of fashion began with the Mods and Rockers in England during the sixties. Certainly parts of the looks were absorbed during the late sixties by the Hippies, and these looks moved deeper into the mainstream during the end of the '60s and the '70s. Sometime around ‘75, and continuing for maybe 20 years, saw the ascendancy of the “Brando Jacket Look”. There was even a time when the Brando jacket was a sort of “little black dress in leather” equivalent.
The “Brando Look” was the lit fuse that opened minds to a new appreciation of motorcycling gear. In Italy, so often the world’s fashion wellspring, motorcycle trials jackets in waxed cotton were an old, almost moribund English style that came roaring back as a boulevard cruiser. In Tokyo, Brando-style jackets in several varieties, all in the original slim fits, became very popular Interestingly enough, the old English styles the Italians fell in love with were also period patterns, slim and trim by today’s standards.
From these beginnings, the fusion of themes broadened out our definition of “Metro” as a genre flexed a little to include more materials, such as wool, hand-waxed and colored brown and tan leathers, waxed cottons and canvas. The central point of definition is that the materials are genuine, were used back in the day, have stood the test of time, and have been modernized and enhanced for the world we live, play and ride in today.
Now the Metro Collection from Vanson comes forward with a family of styles and materials, made the old way, by hand, one at a time, in our own workshop in Fall River, Massachusetts, USA. This is interpretive craftwork in the old, and truest sense of the term.
The famous clichéd saying,“What goes around, comes around” is a whole new story today. Everything old is new again. And there’s another saying about the famously variable climate in New England: “If you don't like the weather, wait a few minutes”. That’s the second part of the story, yet to come.