MILWAUKEE, Wisc. (CBS) -- A century ago, men in those newfangled automobiles and airplanes started wearing black leather jackets to protect themselves from the weather. The jacket quickly became a symbol for a certain kind of man.
Jim Fricke, curatorial director of the Harley Davidson Museum says, "It became kind of this uniform of rebellious cool. It's a little sexy, dangerous -- all that kind of rolled into one garment."
And where better to explore the jacket and its impact on Americana than where it intersects with the motorcycle at the Harley Davidson museum in Milwaukee.
This summer the museum is hosting a new exhibit "worn to be wild: the black leather jacket."
The exhibit charts the rise of the jacket from the pilots of world war ii to the models of today's runways.
The kind of jackets you can see is the one from the Terminator 2 film and Elvis' Penny's jacket before he hit stardom. Fricke says the statement has become louder than the jacket itself. He says, "It started out as function and became divorced from function."
Which brings us to Deborah Nadoolman Landis, a renowned costume designer and college professor. Her expertise infuses this exhibit. She says, "I think they're also sexually charged. they create an ideal male silhouette by extending the shoulder line, pinching in the waist. They're body hugging. They've got zippers. Zippers help conceal and reveal."