Warhol's Leather Jacket Inspires Factory Regulars to Preserve His Time Capsules

"Long hair minimizes the need for barbers; socks can be done without; one leather jacket solves the coat problem for many years; suspenders are superfluous," Leopold Infeld said of his Princeton pal and fellow physicist Albert Einstein's eccentric style. Surprisingly enough — if one replaced "long hair" with "a wig" — a similar sartorial dictum might be applied to the disheveled Andy Warhol. In tribute to the Pop star's distinctive look, the Italian fashion brand Sisley teamed up with 17 "pop artists of the contemporary art scene" to present 18 one-of-a-kind motorcycle jackets, which were auctioned off at Christie's New York earlier this week, hauling in over $20,000 to benefit the Andy Warhol Museum.

Monday's live auction was hosted by a handful of venerable Factory friends: director Vincent Fremont, collector Jane Holzer, Jay Johnson, architect Peter Marino, and gallerist Tony Shafrazi. Proceeds from the sale of the jackets — made by the likes of RitaAckerman, Dan Colen, Tom Sachs, and KennyScharf and each marked with an estimated value of $5,000 — will be used to fund the conservation of Warhol's time capsules. 


All things Warholian are hip these days, with the artist's 1962 "Coca-Cola [4] [Large Coca-Cola]" flying off the Sotheby's block and into billionaire Steven Cohen's meaty hands earlier this week for $34.5 million (making it the fourth-most-expensive Warhol ever to be sold at auction). The contents of Monday's more modest sale, curated by fashion and music journalist Glenn O'Brien, were first unveiled at a Milan Fashion Week show in Italy and then traveled to Pittsburgh for an October exhibition at the Warhol Museum.

While in the early 80s Warhol himself collected leather jackets — one of his bore on its back a portrait of wild-child artist Jean-Michel Basquiat — the Factory founder perhaps did not feel as passionately bound to his outer garments as other cultural icons. Sid Vicious, for instance, in his suicide note, requested that he be buried in jeans, motorcycle boots, and, of course, his leather jacket. Warhol, for the record, was buried in a cashmere suit, paisley tie, and sunglasses.