Despite being steeped in over 100 years of rich history, the trench coat remains surprisingly current.
An instant outfit smartener and the key to a tailored look, we mark the history of the trench coat and the reasons why we’ve fallen for it.
IN THE TRENCHES
Born of practicality, a trench would have been worn by senior officers during the First World War. With British designers Thomas Burberry and John Emary (Aquascutum) as the co-inventors of the coat, pieces were made from gabardine making them water and wind proof. Widely worn in the 1920s by women, it became not just a statement of fashion, but also one of equality.
IN THE MOVIES
Tailored and timeless, famous faces soon fell in love with the staple piece. Audrey Hepburn’s little black dress may have been the star in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, but it was her choice of trench coat that caused a stir, and rocketing sales of the garment too. From Katharine Hepburn in The Iron Petticoat (1956) to Meryl Streep in Kramer vs Kramer (1970), the iconic double-breasted coat became the adoration of the silver screen.
ON THE CATWALK
British design titans Aquascutum and Burberry have been at the forefront of trench, with the latter having started to line their coats with the iconic red and beige checks back in the 1920s. Come 2001 and new creative director for the brand Christopher Bailey transformed the classic piece, beginning the luxurious Prorsum line and adding a fashion-forward approach to the slim line silhouette. Rival and co-inventor Aquascutum are celebrated for their elegant trenches as their collections have proved their pieces hold practicality and style in equal measure.
ON THE STREET
Whether it’s cropped, coloured or classic, the trench coat remains a wardrobe staple. Making its transition from catwalk to sidewalk, the modern trench can take many forms while still maintaining its traditional roots. From fringed features and pastel palettes and from knee-length to floor length, one thing is for certain- the trench will remain a style staple for decades to come.
Publication New Look