Paul Manafort's Ostrich Jacket Not So Far out of Fashion

2:46 PM 8/1/2018

by Lindsay Weinberg

The former Trump lackey has been condemned by PETA.

Alex Wong/Getty; Dan Kitwood/Getty

Could ostrich be the new black?

President Donald Trump’s ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort sparked a trend during his trial Tuesday, in which he faces charges of bank and tax fraud.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Uzo Asonye told the courtroom that Manafort had opted to buy luxury goods instead of pay taxes. One such treasure is a “$15,000 jacket made from an ostrich,” which has raised feathers, drawing comparisons to Big Bird, inspired New Yorker cartoons and more. 

Though it’s possible Manafort’s jacket was made from ostrich feathers (hello, Yellow Brick Road!), it’s more likely it was made of ostrich leather, which has raised bumps where the feathers once were. Ostrich leather is actually a mainstay of luxury brands, including Tom Ford, Gucci and Louis Vuitton.

Still it's not exactly politically correct in any sense, especially in an era when Ralph Lauren, Michael Kors and others are lining up to ditch fur and mohair from their collections, in response to animal activists.

To wit, PETA president Ingrid Newkirk called Manafort’s jacket “ridiculous,” adding, “It was likely made from numerous juvenile ostriches whose throats were slit and whose feathers were plucked out. … We are asking Mr. Manafort to imagine how much harder circumstances are for ostriches than for him and to donate this awful jacket for PETA” to use for school education. 

Forbes speculated that Manafort’s jacket was from Brioni (on eBay Brioni’s ostrich leather jacket is going for $25,000) or from House of Bijan, which said it keeps customer information confidential. Jezebel suggested Manafort’s jacket could be Gucci, which sold ostrich leather biker jackets for $14,500 in 2012. 

In total, Manafort spent $1,369,655 on clothing of the $75 million in question — steep even by Hollywood standards, notes The Hollywood Reporter. He spent $849,215 at a “men’s clothing store in New York" and $520,440 at a “clothing store in Beverly Hills," so maybe that's where he purchased the buzzworthy ostrich item. 

As much as the item has provoked ridicule, Manafort seems to have an eye for fashion. Take a gander at six other ostrich pieces on the market. 

  • Queen Margaret Embellished Ostrich Shoulder Bag

    Courtesy of Net a Porter

    Gucci’s ivory ostrich bag comes decorated with the house’s classic bee, inlaid with red crystals and faux pearls; $7,800, netaporter.com.

  • Pale Pink Ostrich Flower Earrings

    Courtesy of Moda Operandi

    Tickle me pink in Ranjana Khan pink beaded flower earrings with ostrich feather trim; $455, modaoperandi.com.

  • Raven Ostrich Feather Cape

    Courtesy of Barneys NY

    Osman’s self-tie satin-lined cape is embellished with black ostrich feathers; $1,950, barneys.com.

  • Brooks Brothers Ostrich Clutch

    Courtesy of Brooks Brothers

    This suede-lined clutch features dotted ostrich leather and gold-plated zippers; $1,198, brooksbrothers.com.

  • Ostrich iPhone X Case

    Courtesy of Barneys NY

    The Vianel hard case is made in the U.S.A. using pink ostrich; $120, barneys.com.

  • Feather-Trimmed Boyfriend Jeans

    Courtesy of Net a Porter

    Prada details its stonewashed jeans with South African ostrich feathers in blue and black; $1,510, netaporter.com.