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Style Notes: C.P. Company's Iconic Goggle Jacket

Style Notes: C.P. Company's Iconic Goggle Jacket

C.P. Company’s Eyes on the City campaign has seen the cult Italian menswear brand revisit their biggest icon – the Goggle jacket. This season, FLANNELS joined forces with C.P. Company to take the jacket to Leeds, a city close to our hearts, where we explored the visual and practical realties of the jacket on the street.

Before we dive deeper into the significance of the Goggle jacket, a bit of back story. C.P. Company was the brain child of prolific sportswear designer Massimo Osti. His first brand and arguably his most pioneering, Stone Island wasn’t to follow until many years later. Established in 1971, C.P. Company fast became one of the most innovative and technical brands on the premium menswear market. Osti was a true innovator, a researcher and garment archivist inspired by Bauhaus methods, who drew upon military and workwear references to shape a completely new sartorial code for the modern man based on functionality and form. Bold design, radical materials and experimental manufacturing techniques meant that C.P. Company redefined sportswear for urban life.

The brand owes much of its longevity to a strict (but not inflexible) design and research methodology that ensures evolution is never at the expense of the C.P. Company DNA. At C.P. HQ they don’t follow trends, so its popularity surges in authentic waves that reflect the cyclical nature of fashion. Because of the care with which the brand is safeguarded, a C.P. Company piece is instantly recognisable – part of the reason numerous subcultures have favoured it over the years and to what it owes its hefty cultural cachet. Design elements like the goggles and lens are peculiar to a C.P. Company garment and speak a language that other disciples of the brand understand – that the wearer is part of the tribe. First championed by Italy’s Paninaro, C.P. Company made its way to the UK and by the ‘90s had reached peak infamy – synonymous with the Casuals and terrace culture. Now, it’s having a renaissance – as much a symbol of tribal affiliation today as it was in the ‘80s. It transcends trends, with everyone from Stormzy to Drake seen wearing it.

Arguably the brand’s most iconic piece, the Goggle jacket, known unofficially as the ‘Mille Miglia’, is a storied piece of outerwear worthy of more than a little hyperbole. In 1988, C.P. Company sponsored the Mille Miglia, a prestigious vintage car race held in Italy. Osti had in his archive a protective hood worn by the Japanese Civil Defence, reminiscent of a balaclava with lenses at eye level. As part of the sponsorship, he took elements of the design and conceived the idea of a driving jacket with goggles sewn into the body of the garment. The first prototype had lenses sewn into an extended collar, and further experiments culminated in a jacket not unlike the modernised one we see today. It had lenses sewn into the hood, multi-functional pockets inspired by Swiss field jackets and a visor in the sleeve allowing the wearer to view their watch. It was a stylish but functional piece of clothing that could be worn to protect the eyes and face whilst driving on the open road and has since become a symbol for all that C.P. Company stands for.

Over the years, the Goggle jacket has been revisited and reinvented, but the spirit of the original has never been lost. Exhibitions have been held in its honour, and to mark the jacket’s twentieth anniversary designer Aitor Throup was invited to reimagine the iconic piece. Hitting the sweet but elusive spot between performance sportswear and premium designer clothing, the Goggle jacket’s driving-based features are still at its core. The modern iteration of it appeals to those with an appreciation for both Italian pedigree and functional design. Sophisticated and clever, navigate the space between streetwear mafia and sports gear aficionado with this season’s take on one of menswear’s most iconic pieces of clothing.