CDO Jacket, Melton wool x indigo cotton twill combo
Saigon Cowboy Fall 2015
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…
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.
Professional dry-cleaning or hand-wash and hang-dry. Do NOT use hot water or throw the jacket in a dryer.
Available from www.misterfreedom.com, our Los Angeles brick & mortar store, and fine retailers around the World.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 323-653-2014 with any questions unanswered above.
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