Marlon Brando in leathers as the leader of an outlaw gang in cult 50s film The Wild One marked a moment of countercultural awakening for the teens of early 50s America, with his biker jacket giving the style its lasting nickname – the Brando. The film follows the Black Rebels motorcycle gang (based on bad boy bikers like the infamous Hell’s Angels) and their leader Johnny Strabler (played by the actor) as they fight another gang – and provided the main point of inspiration for Masanori Morikawa’s SS16 collection for Christian Dada. At the brand’s presentation in Paris, the set paid homage to the collection's motorcycling origins – vintage bikes were scattered around the room and there was the unmistakable smell of petrol.
It wasn’t just the gang’s jackets, boots and turned-up jeans that served as inspiration; it was that spirit of rebellion – something that played out in the hems emblazoned with “AGAINST” and “PROTEST” and that photographer / casting director Fumi Nagasaka and stylist John Colver tried to reflect in her line up of models. “We tried to cast guys that had some spunk,” explained Colver. But these weren’t simply outlaw bikers – they carried a sense of homoeroticism too. Think Tom of Finland or Peter Marino – but waif-like, not beef-like. And then there were the details - traditional Japanese yokoburi embroidery that depicted eagles and the emblems of motorcycle gangs. Morikawa gave us an homage to the Brando's brand of bad boy, and a seductive one at that.