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“Amelia’s” Aviator Style Lands on Runways

Before they became staples of the runway, bomber jackets, flight suits and protective aviator sunglasses were born in the cockpit of an early and cold airplane.

They were necessary in drafty flying machines with metal doors that were a struggle just to keep closed. But as aviation pioneers such as Amelia Earhart brought their style around the world, they sparked fashion trends that have been with us ever since.

The leather bomber jacket shown in the new Earhart biopic “Amelia” starring Hilary Swank marries function and style in a way that finicky fashion has embraced through the years, says Franco DiCarlo, executive vice president of Belstaff USA, the brand that collaborated with the filmmakers on key wardrobe pieces.

“A lot of the aviator jackets are timeless in style and they perform under a great variety of weather. … They say fashion is cyclical, but this is timeless,” he says.

But when the styles landed in the 1920s and ’30s, it was uncharted territory, allowing for a woman like Earhart to help craft the image and vocabulary of a flyer’s style, says “Amelia” costume designer Kasia Walicka Maimone.

“The whole history of aviation was really being invented and part of that was inventing the new language,” she says.

At first pilots borrowed silhouettes from horseback riders, race-car drivers and motorcyclists, later adapting jodhpurs, goggles and sleepwear dresses zip-front leather jackets, among other items.

Early on, Earhart wore these things, too, but she had a lifelong interest in fashion so many of the more stylish, more feminine adaptations came from her. At one point, she had her own clothing line – a second career to support her flying.

“She wore clothes with a natural ease and elegance,” says Maimone. “I did love her evening gowns as much as I loved the flightwear. I loved the combination of the super practical flight clothing and the elegance of the eveningwear. I loved that it was one closet for the same person.”

The movie’s director, Mira Nair, says time, effort and money went into capturing the right visuals of Earhart’s time. “We wanted to make the costumes seems as modern as they were then. … We didn’t want it to look like a `costume movie.’ We wanted wearable, practical clothes with great style.”

She was a fan of a white silk charmeuse tank top and winter-white trousers Swank wore, as well as an open-back, pewter-colored gown. “So often I moved the camera to shoot the dress and the plane. The plane was horizontal but I wanted to show off the full figure of Amelia because there’s such enjoyment of her silhouette.”

Nair adds, “If I had the figure, I’d wear the brown-leather catsuit thing she wore.” She’ll still have her chance: slim jumpsuits in stores this past spring are back in designer collections for 2010.

And Nair is still mulling a leather bomber and tie-up boots for her shopping list this season. “I’m pretty amazed to see what’s happening in fashion magazines. In the last six weeks, I’ve seen so many with the aviator look.”

The vintage bomber silhouette has a cropped length and slim sleeve – and it looks great with boyfriend jeans and heels or a maxi dress, says Belstaff’s di Franco. The company is currently offering it in both a sleek, urban-vibe black calfskin as well as broken-in cognac. Belstaff said it is selling exceptionally well, after similar success offering a version of the leather jacket in “The Aviator,” the 2004 Oscar-winning movie.

Aviator eyewear was also born of necessity for pilots who needed to be shielded from both the sun and external agents.

The Italian brand Persol has been making aviator eyewear since 1917, and some pilots still choose Persol, says brand manager Chiara Bernardi, but new lenses with photochromic and polarized lenses allow for protection without the original, < pajamas men href=”http://www.4shared.com/office/4waXcH85ba/21_Flash_Sale_Sites_like_Zulil.html”>sleeveless nightshirt gogglelike look.

Of course, most people wearing contemporary aviator sunglasses, with their trademark fuller lens and flatter frame, aren’t battling tough elements. “We’re more on the `completing-your-outfit’ part of life now,” Bernardi says. “It’s a fashion accessory, but the aviator shape influences the whole industry.”

DiCarlo says aviator and motorcycle looks become more influential in times like this, when tastemakers and consumers have a craving for authenticity, longevity mens sleep wear value.

“A leather jacket is something we’ve done for 85 years,” DiCarlo says. “It comes and goes in fashion, but it plays in our favor that it’s a `trend’ that kind of lasts forever.”

By Samantha Critchell

By Samantha Critchell

2009 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. Sleepwear and accessories for the whole family; Spa Slippers, Nightshirts, Kitchen Stuff and Matching Pajamas for sale and very affordable. At Lazy One, we believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of laughter. And since the mind craves humor like the body craves comfort, we take great pride in combining both comedy and coziness in every product! So go ahead—sleep, sprawl, and snicker with Lazy One.

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Michelle Obama wears red Jason Wu gown to inaugural balls

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama attend the Commander-in-Chief Ball at the Washington Convention Center on Jan. 21, 2013, in Washington.

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First lady Michelle Obama made it a fashion tradition Monday night, wearing a custom-made Jason Wu gown to the inauguration balls.

The ruby-colored chiffon and velvet dress was a follow-up to the white gown Wu made for her four years ago when she was new to Washington, the pomp and circumstance, and catalogs for women fashion press.

She paired the dress with a handmade diamond embellished ring by jewelry designer Kimberly McDonald, and shoes designed by Jimmy Choo. At the end of the inaugural festivities, the first lady’s outfit and accompanying accessories will go to the National Archives.

“I can’t believe it. It’s crazy,” said Wu, reached at his Manhattan studio. “To have done it once was already the experience of my life. To have a second time is tremendous.”

President Barack Obama also struck a similar style chord to his first-term inaugural balls: He wore a white tie with his tuxedo.

The red halter dress was the only one Wu, who went from fashion insider to household name on this night in 2009, submitted for Mrs. Sleepwear and accessories for the whole family; Spa Slippers, Nightshirts, Kitchen Stuff and Matching Pajamas for sale and very affordable. At Lazy One, we believe in life, liberty, and the pursuit of laughter. And since the mind craves humor like the body craves comfort, we take great pride in combining both comedy and coziness in every product! So go ahead—sleep, sprawl, and snicker with Lazy One.

Obama’s consideration. He collaborated with McDonald on the jeweled neckline. “For this occasion, it had to be real diamonds,” Wu said.

He said he felt the dress showed how he has grown up as a designer — and how Mrs. Obama’s style has evolved to be even ladies dresses confident.

President Barack Obama called his wife to the stage, referring to her as “my better half — and my dance partner,” before the two danced as Jennifer Hudson sang dresses for women live rendition of Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together.”

“She makes me a better man and a better president,” Mr. Obama said of the first lady. “I’m lucky to have her.”

Earlier in the day, Mrs. Obama wore a navy-silk, checkered-pattered coat and matching dress by designer Thom Browne.

An expected 40,000 people crammed into the Washington Convention Center for Monday evening for the two official inaugural balls, which promised plenty of star power in the entertainment lineup.

Alicia Keys wearing a flowing red gown, planted herself before a piano and dished up reworked lyrics to “Girl on Fire,” declaring, “Obama’s on fire.” Brad Paisley, too, revised his lyrics to fit the occasion, and began by thanking the troops “for keeping us safe.”

Others expected: Chris Cornell, Jamie Foxx, Mana and Marc Anthony.

2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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