I’ve been really into leather jackets lately. Companies such as The Real McCoys, Toys McCoys, and Good Wear Leather for vintage reproductions; Ralph Lauren’s Purple Label, Enrico Mandelli, and Maison Martin Margiela for high-end fashion stuff; Valstar for that unique Italian take on the A1 blouson; and Temple of Jawnz for (relatively) affordable made-to-measure.
Another company I’ve been admiring is Chapal. Having started in France in 1832, the company has belonged to the same family for the last seven generations. In the early-20th century, they made military flight jackets and pilot uniforms for the French air forces, and in the mid-century, they made garments for auto racers. Today, they’re a luxury brand manufacturing for their own line, as well as other companies, such as Jaguar and Bugatti. Everything is made in France and designs are mostly drawn from their aviation and racing history. There are a number of blousons, including the classic A1s, A2s, and G1s; some sport racing and roadster jackets; and a pretty incredible shearling originally worn by French pilots during World War II.
Prices aren’t cheap, but they’re fairly comparable to what you find at other luxury houses. The downside is that, unlike many of those other houses, Chapal doesn’t seem to go on sale. In fact, the only US stockist I know of is Bench & Loom, and although they’re having a sale now, Chapal isn’t included. They also rarely show up on eBay (though one blue racer jacket popped up last month). So, for now, they only seem to be available at full price, and that price will deter many.
But damn if their stuff doesn’t look terrific.