The TAP Lezard “Vanden” Jacket, double indigo twill x Lizard camo combo, Saigon Cowboy Fall 2015




A strong CHANEL influence right here.







TAP Lézard “Vanden” Jacket, reversible quilted indigo twill x lizard camouflage.

Following the release of the Mister Freedom® CDO Jacket, and in a similar Hmongs meets Commando vibe, here is the “Vanden” Jacket. This number will be the final addition to our “Saigon Cowboy” collection, wrapping our Spring and Winter 2015 South East Asia adventure.

Some quick semantics first…
If TAP stands for Troupes Aéroportées (Airborne troops, notorious for their tenue bariolée ‘lézard’), the name “Vanden” is a reference to Roger Vandenberghe. A French military legend, Vanden, as his peers called him, lead the famed Commando N°24 known as the Tigres Noirs (Black Tigers), one of the 45 units making-up the 5,400 men-strong Commando Nord Viet-Nam (1951-1954). Adjudant-ChefVanden’ would become one of the most decorated non-commissioned officer of the French Army, with most of his decorations earned during the Indochina conflict.

Strategic precursors of the CIA-devised CIDG paramilitary groups that would later take over with the US involvement in Vietnam, these French commando units consisted of men recruited amongst ethnic minorities of mountainous regions of Southeast Asia (Hmong, Nùng… of North Vietnam, Laos). Many defecting Viêt Minh personnel also joined the ranks. For either cultural, economic, ideological or territorial reasons, these Vietnamese nationals volunteered to fight alongside the French colonial troops,  against the Ho Chi Minh-lead communists.
Routinely infiltrating enemy-controlled territory, these commandos often opted for uniforms incorporating NVA (North Vietnamese Army) gear, ‘black pajamas’, Chinese military quilted vest, headscarves, dark indigo-dyed garments and other un-conventional local favorites… as can be seen on period photography.

After flirting with death on countless perilous ops, Vanden was to meet his fate in his sleep, assassinated in 1952 by one of his own, a Viêt Minh gone-rogue recruit of the N°24 commando…
For more on that, francophones can refer to “Vandenberghe – Le Commando Des Tigres Noirs – Indochine 1947-1952” by Charles-Henry De Pirey (ISBN:9782914086059).

Photos of Vanden’s Black Tigers courtesy of “PR” on this blog.
Photo of Viet Minh prisoners courtesy of this site.
Photo of night river patrol ©Raoul Coutard, as featured in the book “Guerre Morte” (1954) (ISBN: B00WL1YZIE)

Now comes our loose interpretation of all this…
The Mister Freedom® ‘Vanden’ jacket is by no means a replica of authentic Indochina period uniform, but rather a respectful attempt to link History with contemporary wearables, acknowledging a not-so-distant past, lest we forget. This jacket is an original garment that blends vintage aesthetics and references, not an endorsement of bygone imperialistic foreign policies, nor a glamorization of warfare.

The usual MF® spin was put on a 1950’s French Army Type 1 veste matelassée (often seen rolled up atop the rucksack during the French Army Algerian campaign, 1954-1962), an NVA black-dyed vest,… and vintage sportswear field gear. The result is an hybrid jacket featuring double indigo twill on one side, and our version of the traditional camouflage lézard introduced with the Garrison Trousers and Caban Peacoat on the other.

This jacket is fully reversible, featuring a “TYE Tokyo” metal zipper with double-sided pull courtesy of Toyo Tailor, the skilled Sukajan makers of the Mister Freedom® Party Jacket, our special Spring 2015 illiterate keyboard cowboy stimulator.


Party Jacket and TAP ‘Vanden’ Jacket

The “Vanden” can be worn and zipped-up montagnard side out, or jungle side out. Please note that we left it up too you to customize the pull with your own scoubidou or Paracord tab, as the jacket comes without one.

The “Vanden” features 6 pockets altogether, lower expandable snap flap pockets inspired by French military TAP field jackets, and two camo side chest pockets, quite convenient to store sunglasses or iPhone.
The wool knit cuffs and collar band are mil-specs, courtesy of Buzz Rickson’s.
On a somewhat insignificant note, I have come to like the old stretched-out cuffs of vintage jackets that have been through the wringer, and an easy way to achieve that look is to roll-up the knit cuff on the arm part when the weather permits. Once pulled back down, the cuffs will look ‘sloppily perfect’. This defeats the purpose of keeping the wrist section air-tight, triggering the usual slave-to-style issue, be cool or stay warm, for those of us blessed with such First World dilemmas.

The bottom of the jacket features side expansion wool knit gussets, a vintage-inspired detail we already used on the Chiller Vest, an old Mister Freedom® garment from our 2010 “Speed Safe” collection. This features comes handy when the jacket is fully zipped-up and you are at the wheel.

For the inner padding, we opted for a 100% polyester fiber thermal fill, great for warmth but not too bulky to avoid the Michelin Man look. The square-shape quilted pattern is only featured on the indigo side of the body. The arms are not quilted but still feature a thin thermal padding.

The TAP Lézard ‘Vanden’ Jacket is designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan by Sugar Cane Co.

Montagnard side: “Double indigo twill”, a very dark (almost black) indigo warp and indigo weft 100% cotton denim twill, 12.4 Oz., white selvedge ID. Milled in Japan.
Jungle side: 100% cotton HBT ‘lizard’ camouflage fabric, milled and printed in Japan.
Inner padding: 100% polyester fiber thermal fill.


* Inspired by 1950’s Indochina War military gear and vintage outdoor garments.
* Fully reversible.
* 4 bottom expanding pockets with snap flap, with two extra chest pockets on the lizard side.
* 1950’s sukajan style reversible “TYE Tokyo” metal zipper with double pull tabs.
* 100% polyester fiber filling with minimal ‘puffiness’.
* Mil-specs wool knit cuffs, collar band and side expansion gussets.
* Square-shape quilting pattern on the indigo side.
* Olive green 100% cotton thread.
* Snap down collar lapels.
* Concealed woven Saigon Cowboy label stitched inside pocket flap.
* Made in Japan.

The “Vanden” Jacket comes raw/unwashed and we recommend an initial cold soak (~30mn) with occasional hand-agitation to insure total immersion. Spin cycle and line dry. This jacket is quite bulky and heavy when wet, so do not attempt a full washing cycle as this might damage both your jacket and your washing machine.
This jacket is true to size, and a Medium (38) fits like a snug Medium by mfsc standards. I wear a Medium with enough room for a sweatshirt or denim jacket underneath. This is a rather fitted jacket, depending of course on your build, proportions and choice of size.


Please refer to sizing chart for cold rinse/line dry approximate measurements.

TAP Lezard

Launder when hygiene dictates and common sense prevails.
We recommend professional cleaning in your local eco-friendly facility. If not practical, hand wash or machine wash on DELICATE in large capacity washer to avoid damaging both jacket and machine. Cold water, delicate cycle, eco-friendly mild detergent and line dry. We recommend turning indigo blue/denim garments inside out to avoid marbling when washing. Un-zip jacket before washing.
Patina will develop according to activities and frequency of wear.
WARNING: The double indigo twill will naturally bleed, and minimal color transfer to light color garments or furniture is to be expected. Indigo transfer will wash-off overtime.

Available RAW/unwashed
Small (36)
Medium (38)
Large (40)
X-Large (42)
XX-Large (44)

RETAIL $699.95

Soon available from www.misterfreedom.comfine retailers around the World, and our Los Angeles brick & mortar store.
Email or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for reading and for your support,

Christophe Loiron
Mister Freedom® 2015

The CDO Jacket, Melton wool x indigo twill combo, Saigon Cowboy Fall 2015




And a free bowl of soup to the first reader who notices the upside down woven label on this early sample. Shipping not included.





Mister Freedom® at 7161 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA (Photo Tadashi Tawarayama 2015)

Mister Freedom® HQ at 7161 Beverly Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90036, USA. (Photo Tadashi Tawarayama 2015)

CDO Jacket, Melton wool x indigo cotton twill combo
Saigon Cowboy Fall 2015

Following the recent release of the Mister Freedom® Caban Peacoat, and pushing further up the meanders of our Saigon Cowboy arroyos, here is a new number out of the bush: the ‘CDO Jacket’.

CDO stands for Commando, a respectful reference to Commandos Marine, the famed elite assault troops of the French Navy.
During France’s involvement in the Indochina War, mid-40’s to 1954, several Commandos Marine (Commando François, de Montfort, Jaubert, Tempête and Ouragan) joined forces with South Vietnamese troops on numerous operations from the Gulf of Siam to the Gulf of Tonkin. Whether navigating South China Sea waters, maneuvering Tonkin and Cochinchina waterways, or joining riverine operations around Annam deltas with the Divisons Navales d’Assaut (DINASSAUT), the Fusiliers Marins et Commandos (FUSCO) played a very active role from the early stages of the conflict. These commandos were composed of both supplétifs (enrolled pro-French Indochinese nationals) and CEFEO troops from continental France.

For units assigned to Fleuve (Brown-water Navy) or Mer (blue-water Navy), deployments involved all kinds of fun tropical aquatic activities such as exhilarating adventures in leech-infested and mosquito-ridden mangrove. Cruising aboard US-made landing craft vessels recycled from WW2, or rudimentary river patrol Swift Boat-type precursors, many of these French commandos never reached the end of their 18-month tour.
Due to field isolation, some of these units were left to their own fate and judgement, often pictured sporting eclectic outfits more adapted to local conditions and personal preferences than showing concern for strict military regulations.

For those with a yen for vivid military slang, brown-water French sailors, ‘marins en kaki’ in Indochina, were poetically nicknamed ‘chie dans l’eau” by their airborne or infantry counterparts. ‘Dans l’eau’ translates to ‘in the water’. The verb is for you to guess.

In subsequent years, in and about Vietnam’s 12,000 miles of coastal terrain, American soldiers would in turn be instructed to board all kinds of riverine crafts, some actually inherited from the French flotillas, and confront the same Viet Minh (Vietnamese independentists) enemy, relabelled Viet Cong (Vietnamese communists) to better celebrate the pursuit of the Cold War festivities…

Vintage photos courtesy of this Commandos Marine homage website.
Landing Ship Tank photo courtesy of this website.

Back on point.
Our ‘CDO Jacket’ is by no means a replica of 50’s French Indochina military gear, but instead a product of our questionable imagination. It mixes influences from different armies and periods, in order to create a wearable garment suitable for a peaceful 2015 bateau-mouche cruise. This jacket is the result of combining several vintage goodies in the MF® shaker: British Battledress, 1940’s US Army denim utility jacket, 1950’s French tenue de sortie (dress uniform) jackets, outdoor navy CPO-type civvy garments…

If the general pattern of the ‘CDO Jacket’ is adapted from our Spring 2015 denim Utility Jacket, the shell fabric we opted for is new to MFSC. This textured woven woolen fabric is reminiscent of 1960’s-70’s Melton wool CPO navy shirts, the common civilian kind we are all familiar with, featuring the classic black plastic anchor buttons. This fabric is different from the dense Kersey-type wool of early peacoats, or from the wool serge of typical 1940’s battledress/Ike jackets. It is more loosely woven, without the softer brushed finish, and with the woven pattern clearly visible from both sides.

‘Black’ indigo is an important feature of Vietnam’s indigenous Degar People traditional attire, both men and women, in the form of dark loincloth, sarongs… Seemingly out of left field but as a subtle Montagnard reference , we have combined our navy blue woven wool fabric with the 16 Oz. indigo warp x black weft twill of our Caban Peacoat, in contrasting textures but blending colors. The two chest pockets, underarm gussets, and more importantly the collar top part, are all cut from that indigo cotton twill. The rest of the body is made of Melton-type wool. Those allergic to wool will appreciate the ‘CDO jacket’ collar not rubbing their neck.

To add another layer of historical references, our ‘CDO Jacket’ is fully lined with Buzz Rickson’s 100% cotton twill, printed with TSP (Tadpole Sparse Pattern) gold tiger stripe camouflage, the same fabric featured on the MF® Tiger Board Shorts.

Oh, and because we have way too much time on our hands, we also thought of hand-dyeing corozo wood buttons in our Mickey Mouse indigo vat, creating quite an impression in the neighborhood.

The ‘CDO Jacket’ is designed in California by Mister Freedom® and manufactured in Japan by Sugar Cane Co.


Shell: Combination 100% wool, Melton-type, textured weave and 100% cotton twill, 16 Oz. indigo warp x black weft with white selvedge ID. Both fabrics are milled in Japan.
Lining: Buzz Rickson’s 100% cotton twill, printed with TSP (Tadpole Sparse Pattern) gold tiger stripe camouflage. Made in Japan.

* Revisited general pattern of the classic US Army M1941 HBT Utility jacket.
* Contrasting fabric texture combination, melton wool and indigo cotton twill.
* Battledress-type waist length.
* Side cinch straps, mil-specs metal sliders.
* Concealed inner chest pocket.
* Indigo cotton twill top collar for neck confort.
* Indigo twill selvedge visible on inside pocket fold.
* ‘Bat sleeve’ pattern with indigo twill gusset for arm hole comfort.
* Expanding box pleat chest pockets, indigo cotton twill.
* Indigo-dyed corozo wood buttons.
* Adjustable wrist cuffs.
* ‘Oxidized’ black 100% cotton thread stitching.
* MFSC ‘tailleur‘ woven label on the inside waistband.
* Made in Japan.

Our ‘CDO Jacket’ comes unwashed, is true to size, and meant to be professionally dry-cleaned.
However, for the adventurous few who like a bit of ‘torquing and roping’ in their fabrics, the jacket can be initially soaked in cold water for 20-30 mn, briefly hand agitated, and spun dry. Shape it a bit to your body by wearing it briefly before hanging and letting fully dry overnight. This process is not intended to shrink the jacket, but instead to ‘tone down’ the off-the-shelf look inherent to raw garments in general. The necessity of this step is left to everyone judgement and is merely a subjective suggestion.
Unlike its denim Utility Jacket predecessor I had opted to size down with, I wear a medium (38) in the CDO jacket.

Please refer to sizing chart for measurements.

CDO Jacket Sizing Jkt Sizing CDO

Professional dry-cleaning or hand-wash and hang-dry. Do NOT use hot water or throw the jacket in a dryer.

Available RAW/unwashed
Small (36)
Medium (38)
Large (40)
X-Large (42)
XX-Large (44)

RETAIL $629.95

Available from, our Los Angeles brick & mortar store, and fine retailers around the World.
Email or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
Thank you for your support.

Christophe Loiron,

MF® 2015