March 28, 1988 12:00 PM

You might call it the height of fashion—or a monstrous waste of material. But according to the Guinness Book of World Records, the creation that Guy Maîtrejean unveiled in Paris recently is most assuredly the largest jacket in the world. Maîtrejean, 50, managing director of the French textile firm Bayard, was looking for a way to spiff up his 50-year-old company’s aging image. With the help of public relations and advertising consultants, he concocted the idea of designing a truly oversize jacket—”a larger-than-life illustration of our new sporty elegance,” he says.

Working from a paper pattern designed by Bayard’s manufacturing manager, Robert Pennec, it took 10 Bayard employees 80 hours of labor and 42 yards of wool and cashmere to construct the beige checked blazer. “What an operation!” says Pennec, picking up the thread of the story. “We had to clear out an entire office. To supervise the progress, I had to climb up a ladder. It’s five times larger than a normal blazer. You can fit 40 king-size packs of cigarettes in the side pocket and seven loaves of French bread in the breast pocket.”

Measuring 16 feet high and weighing about 40 pounds (including its wood hanger), the garment was pronounced “spectacular” by Guinness official Pierre Gorin when he approved it as a record last month. Maîtrejean now plans to sell the jacket at a suitable charity auction. David Byrne, répondez s’il vous plaît.

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