My friend Kevin Jarre was rarely seen anywhere without his Perfecto motorcycle jacket.  (I'm wearing mine in the picture above.)  He was a motorcycle buff but he wore the Perfecto whatever his ride happened to be at the time — Land Rover, limousine, train, taxicab, subway, horse.  He would sometimes consent to wear a sports jacket, for a formal occasion, to get into a fancy restaurant, to please a young lady he was courting, but the Perfecto was his uniform — it was what he put on when he went to work being Kevin Jarre.

He talked me into buying one, and when I did he replaced the cheesy buckle that comes with the Perfecto with a heavier one, exchanging them himself at a leather repair shop where he talked the owners into letting him use their tools.  Aside from the buckle, the modern Perfecto is a fine and virtually indestructible object, no different than it was when it was first manufactured in 1928 — the first zippered motorcycle jacket — no different than the one Marlon Brando wore in The Wild One in 1954.

When I heard this month that Kevin had died I pulled my Perfecto out of the closet and started wearing it around town.  Sometimes I get funny looks when I do this — I have a tad less style than it takes to wear a Perfecto well.  That's what I'm reminding myself of, I guess — Kevin's supreme but eccentric sense of style.

And when I feel the sturdy rivets in the belt loop, where Kevin replaced the buckle, I'm reminded of his generosity and his sense of how things must be.

2 thoughts on “PERFECTO

  1. Hi Lloyd, I dated Kevin for about a year right around the time GLORY was being filmed 1988-89. Over the years we lost touch and I moved to San Francisco. Here and there as the internet grew and Facebook (which I know, I know) would never have been a thing Kevin would have joined I kept looking for some sign of him to no avail. Not sure what prompted me to look again last month – maybe it was the old white LandRover I passed on the road – and was so saddened to find out that he died. The things you write about him and the photos you have posted (right in my era- the one taken at The Chateau Marmont for an interview) ring so true and bring his spirit right into the room – his unending generosity, his humor and intelligence, his style (white shirts and the Perfecto), his moral compass…It’s all been flooding back into my memory and I am filled with a grief that’s hard to push down. I remember I wrote to him after we stopped dating and I said I hoped I knew him still when we grew old and gray and could sit on a porch and tell stories and he could make me laugh and laugh with his astute and perfect observations of the people around us and the books we had read and the movies we had seen and the way things should be just so…Next time I head down to LA I think I best go back into Dan Tana’s and have a steak and vodka and listen for the sound of some old and wonderful conversations.

    • Maya, thanks so much for that lovely remembrance. He was such an extraordinary man — I lost touch with him, too, before we lost him for good, and both those things fill me with grief whenever I think about them.

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