What I wore this week: a padded jacket
Oh, the padded jacket. The staple of childhood wardrobes that makes me think of days-old Ribena splashed on the front and zippers being pulled up angrily by my mother (Look! Out! For! My! Chin!). Wearing a padded jacket as an adult, however, had until recently seemed unappealing. I mean, do I really want to look like a) the Michelin Man or b) someone who volunteers the question, “Can you hire the salopettes off-season?”
But then the padded jacket was reinvented by Vetements and Balenciaga’s Demna Gvasalia. He took the staple and blew it up, pop-art style, turning it into a statement of overindulgence and consumerism. His padded jackets had infinite folds and sleek sides; they were oversize, awkward. They looked like something you might find in Stranger Things’ Upside Down parallel world.
Part of Gvasalia’s genius was the way he took an everyday staple and turned it into the most punk element of a mundane fashion season. It was so outrageous and OTT, it seemed as though he was gently trolling the fashion establishment: Missy Elliott meets the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man.
But in the move from catwalk to high street, this sense of the ridiculous is lost. Gone are the outré shapes and sleek edges. Instead of a reinvention, the padded jacket has pretty much stayed the same.
Wearing the red number pictured here, I should feel as if I’m inside a snug cloud; instead, I am decidedly Earth-bound. It’s very safe, and very “let’s have a nice cream tea after this country walk”. With my dreams of living in a Jeff Koons installation dashed, I skulk back to Nuts In May-ville: it’s all a bit too “functional” and “useful” for my liking.