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NOT THAT JACKET

Times Staff Writer

When Members Only made the scene in the late ‘70s, no one could have predicted that the trademark jacket -- you know, the cotton-poly blend with the elastic waistband, shoulder epaulets, zipper front and snap collar -- would define an era. Between acid-washed jeans, crimped hair and mullets, the nerdy little jacket with the nerdier tag line -- “When you put it on something happens” -- quickly found its place in pop culture.

But soon enough, Members Only fell from status symbol to punch line. It took an additional 20 years to become an embarrassing, ironic reference point in “Shallow Hal,” “Will & Grace” and, gaining some steam, on the mystery man at the diner counter in the final scene of “The Sopranos.”

Now the label’s in full comeback mode, following in the footsteps of ‘80s revival brands Camp Beverly Hills and Le Tigre. Only this time around, Members Only is trading in the cheese factor for clean, well-tailored lines, and the cotton-polyester for leather.

And just to keep the bad memories at a distance, they’re not going near menswear for the time being.

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Kelli Delaney, a former US Weekly fashion director, is at the helm of the relaunch, bringing flashes of the same paparazzi-filled, jet-set lifestyle to the label that she did to the weekly mag. It’s clear who the “members” of her club are, with styles named after Angelina, Lindsay, Charlize and Mischa -- and prices soaring into the four figures. Even the images in the label’s look book are shot paparazzi style, narrating a love triangle among three gorgeous glamazons who look to be shopping on Robertson Boulevard. The lambskin vests, perforated leather trench coats and a clingy white cap-sleeve dress with front pockets look more Penelope Tree than Jennifer Beals.

The one item that could have come straight from a 1982 roller rink is a Day-Glo gold leather jacket. It’s a luxe twist on an old-school style, perfect for Beyonce’s next music video. It is, shockingly, $990. The Lindsay, just $880, is a short-sleeve black leather jacket with brass buttons. Gold buttons are used throughout the collection and add some sophistication to the leather pieces in classic colors such as cognac, navy, black and white.

The original Members Only jacket sold for $55.

If it’s the 1980s you crave, well, you probably didn’t lambada your way through the decade. And if you did, let’s just hope you grew up to make some money.

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melissa.magsaysay@latimes.com

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Members Only is available at Kitson, Tracey Ross and Fred Segal.

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