Today Baracuta, maker of the iconic G9 jacket, announced it has drawn the zipper on a new website with ecommerce features as well as a generous dose of brand heritage. Baracuta was founded in England in 1937 and is currently owned by the Bologna-based company WP Lavori In Corso, which is currently planning a flagship retail store in London, plus Baracuta shops in other major cities.
During the Ivy heyday the Baracuta jacket entertained a certain popularity on campus, as this 1960 ad from the Yale Daily News shows:
Its cultural exposure was much broader, however, as both James Dean and Elvis popularized similar jackets on film. And the models in the new Baracuta promo video are certainly a far cry from ’60s-era Yalies. In fact, in its native England, the jacket had a strong association with skinheads in the ’70s and ’80s.
But much of its original popularity back home goes to patron saint of English Ivy John Simons, who nicknamed the jacket the “Harrington,” after the character Rodney Harrington on the TV series “Peyton Place.” Harrington was played by Ryan O’Neal, who would go on to introduce Main Street America to the concept of a “preppy” in the 1970 movie “Love Story.”
Oddly enough, a Google Image search for “Ryan O’Neal Peyton Place” turns up only one grainy screenshot of O’Neal wearing the jacket, and it comes from a British retro fashion site. Perhaps he only wore it in one episode?
A more detailed exploration of the jacket’s revered place among English Ivy fans comes from this article from The Sabotage Times (whose clever motto, no doubt aimed at bored desk jockeys, is “We can’t concentrate, so why should you?”):
In the early fifties the G9 was exported to the US only for celebrity golfers such as Bing Crosby, Bob Hope and Ronald Reagan to swan about in, while the Ivy League Fraternity – who seemed in a terrible rush to look like their golf-loving dads – made it their own. But it wasn’t until 1958, when Elvis Presley teamed the item with brilliantine and attitude in the movie King Creole that it crossed over to Main Street and became a much-copied American staple. “Elvis always floated between Ivy League style and serious fashion,” attests shop owner and style monger John Simons – the man responsible for popularizing the item in the UK via his trendsetting stores. “The Baracuta came in some great colors and how Elvis wore it was called the Jivey Ivy which was Ivy League with a twist. After that almost every clothing company in the US copied it.”
Today J. Press sells an English-made Baracuta for $395:
And here are some other Tradsville personalities you might recognize wearing the jacket, such as “Oxford Cloth Button Down“:
And Joe from An Affordable Wardrobe:
Even Clark Kent though they were super:
Now it’s time to find out what you think. — CC