The Valstar story could be divided up into two distinct eras: Before-Valstarino and After-Valstarino. B.V. Valstar was a completely different brand, one that had been founded in the late eighteen-hundreds as “English Fashion Waterproof” with a focus upon raincoats. In 1911, this company moved their offices to Milan to become Italy’s first rainwear company, dropping their convoluted name along the way in favor of the more streamlined Valstar moniker. For the next twenty-four years they continued to churn out effective, if not ordinary, trench coats, until the creation of the Valstarino in 1935. With its cropped body, knit collar and unstructured design, the Valstarino was a revolution, not just for Valstar, but for Italian style as a whole.
At its core the Valstarino is a modified A-1, the dual-pocket, waist length flight jacket that was designed by the U.S. military in 1927. The shape itself intrigued the designers at Valstar, but they were appealing to the relaxed sensibilities of Italians, not the rigorous demands of fighter pilots. Their version of the A-1 with its soft structure and leather body is an early example of outerwear through a tailored lens. And so, much like an unstructured sport coat, a Valstarino is somewhat dressy, while also being deceptively comfortable.
As we head back into the cooler weather, the Valstarino makes a serious case for being the perfect transitional jacket – it’s warm, but not bulky, and really it can be worn over just about everything. Thanks to the menswearian masses current obsession with all things unstructured and Italian, more shops than ever are stocking Valstarinos in a dizzying number of configurations and colors. We’re particularly fond of the suede models, just don’t get caught in the rain in one of those because they aren’t the English Fashion Waterproof company anymore.