STYLE & BEAUTY
08/02/2018 01:34 pm ET

Here's A Closer Look At Paul Manafort's $15,000 Ostrich Jacket

Of all the details revealed at the trial of Trump’s former campaign chairman, this might have been the wildest.

On Tuesday, while Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort was on trial for tax and bank fraud, prosecutors revealed a number of details about his lavish spending habits. In an attempt to prove their argument, the financial details of Manafort’s very expensive wardrobe were put on display.

One particularly opulent item caught the attention of people online: a $15,000 bomber jacket made of ostrich leather. 

Now, what exactly does this $15,000 ostrich leather jacket look like? 

CNN correspondent Kara Scannell tweeted an image of the garment ― a bomber jacket with the distinctive dotted, slightly bumpy texture associated with ostrich leather ― which was purchased from Alan Couture in New York City. 

It’s not your typical politician attire, and as one Instagram account illustrated, it might be better suited for a character on “The Sopranos.”

Other folks on social media had some thoughts about the jacket, too:

The garment was just one of many items ― mainly suits, sport coats, a $9,500 ostrich vest and an $18,500 python blazer ― Manafort purchased from Alan Couture. Between 2010 and 2014 he spent almost $1 million at the shop, USA Today reported.

But back to the jacket, which again, cost $15,000. For some context, that’s more than the 2017 poverty-level income for a single-person household in the U.S. (with the exception of Alaska). 

However, according to one ostrich leather expert appropriately named Henry Slaughter, $15,000 is kind of a steal. 

Slaughter, owner of Ostrich Alligator Market in Melbourne, Florida, told The Guardian, “An ostrich jacket, if it’s custom-made? Fifteen thousand dollars is pretty cheap.” The Washington Post, though, pointed out that $15,000 seems to be in line with other ostrich leather jackets ― though not necessarily custom-made ― available on sites like eBay and Amazon. 

Slaughter also told The Guardian that ostrich, python and alligator are considered “exotic skins.” Compared to pigskin and cowhide, the exotic leathers come at a premium price, Slaughter said.

On its website, the American Wildlife Foundation notes that the practice of ostrich farming dates back to the 18th century. At one point, according to AWF, “ostrich feathers were so popular in ladies’ fashion that the ostrich disappeared from all of North Africa.” 

In 2016, PETA published a video exposing the slaughter methods used to obtain ostrich skin for luxury fashion use. On Wednesday, the organization also responded to the news of Manafort’s jacket, saying in a statement on Twitter that it “was likely made from numerous juvenile ostriches whose throats were slit and whose feathers were plucked out.” 

Beyond Manafort’s Alan Couture jacket, ostrich leather is quite common in the luxury fashion world, with luxury labels including (but not limited to) Gucci, Prada, Hermés and Bottega Veneta using it for expensive handbags and accessories.  

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