Many believe that the history of trench coats began during the First World War. It is believed that a warm and functional version of the raincoat was invented for soldiers who had to sit in the trenches day and night: high collar, waterproof material, coquettes on the back, deep pockets – these details of the trench coat allowed them to be offline for a long time in bad weather.
Actually, this assumption is wrong. Yes, trench coats were truly a salvation for soldiers in the First World War, but they were invented much earlier.
According to Megan Virtanen, fashion historian, cultural scientist, author of the book “Soviet Fashion”. 1917-1991″, the history of the trench coat began in 1879 when Thomas Burberry invented gabardine, which is made from Egyptian cotton with a special type of weave (twill).
“The sloping thin rib allowed the water droplets to roll, and the raincoats became “rain and fog, thorn and fishing resistant,” after a patent was granted in 1888, as the company’s advertisement states. Five years later, Fridtjof Nansen (Norwegian polar explorer. – Gazeta .Ru) included the Burberry trench coat in his wardrobe for a trip to the Arctic Circle, and in 1900 the army became interested in trench coats: the company develops a new type of uniform, ”says the Newspaper.Ru Megan Virtanen.
The Burberrys, 1909
Print Collector/Getty Images
According to Vogue, traces in the history of trench coats’ creation appeared even earlier—in the 1820s, when Scottish chemist and inventor Charles Mackintosh and British rubber industry founder Thomas Hancock invented the waterproof mackintosh. This outerwear, between a coat and a raincoat, was used by hunters and fishermen.
In 1853, under the brand Aquascutum, which still exists today, John Emary, a men’s tailor from London, developed a more advanced version of the raincoat. And after the idea was taken up and modernized by Thomas Burberry, who came up with the idea of treating each fiber with a special water-repellent raster – not the product entirely, but individually.
Aquascutum and Burberry brands still claim the right to be called the creators of the legendary trench coats for soldiers and officers of the First World War, after which this wardrobe item went to the masses.
“The trench coat arrived in Russia first, where the Entente supplied it to the tsarist government, although the volumes were small,” says fashion historian Megan Virtanen. – Unlike practical leather coats, trench coats were not the subject of copying in the 1920s, so we had to wait for mug samples, including the movie screen: The Maltese Falcon (1941, directed by John Huston. – socialbites.ca) ) played in all theaters with Humphrey Bogart and fashionistas tried to imitate the image of the actor. True, it was difficult to tailor such a raincoat to order, and Western models cost a lot of money for black marketers.
In the 40s of the last century, trench coats ceased to be associated with the attributes of the military uniform and really came into fashion with the light hand of Hollywood stars. According to Megan Virtanen, trench coat fashion in the West was reborn in the early 1960s after the release of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” starring Audrey Hepburn. The audience will see “Casablanca” starring Humphrey Bogart, “A Foreign Romance” starring Marlene Dietrich, “Kramer vs. He remembered the trench coats from the “Kramer” movies.
Humphrey Bogart (centre) in a photograph from Casablanca (1942)
Coco Chanel, Christian Dior, Paul Poiret, Madeleine Vionnet, Elsa Schiaparelli, Hubert de Givenchy and others participated in the rethinking of the classic “field” model of the trench coat in the last century. As a result, the trench coat we are accustomed to wearing today is not much like the trench coats worn by civil servants a hundred years ago. Even Aquascutum and Burberry have revised their base models.
“In the early 2000s, trench coats were ubiquitous, whether they were the original Burberry or imitations from other manufacturers,” says Megan Wirtanen. “However, in the UK the company’s products fell in love with local lumpens at the time, so it took a lot of effort and money to regain its former prestige.”
Since the 2010s, The Guardian’s fashion editors have advised Kim Kardashian to follow the evolution of the trench coat on her Instagram page (the company that owns Meta is considered an extremist organisation). Although the star rarely looked stylish, she always wore trendy items from top fashion houses. Her favorites are usually the Balenciaga voluminous trench coats, created specifically for Kim by the creative director of the Demna Gvasalia brand.
Personal stylist Marina Ryseva believes that the trench coat available today is in many ways similar to the original version. “A loose silhouette, the shoulder line may be slightly lowered or missing, so you can wear it without hesitation under a jacket or a voluminous hooded trench coat,” the stylist explains to socialbites.ca. “The minimalism is evident in the absence of the classic details of the trench coat and the metal fastenings on the buckles.”
Previously, trench coats were mostly made in khaki, but Burberry decided to stand out and found Nova’s signature sand color, which has been known since 1924. Now trench coats are not only made from fabric, but also from faux or natural leather, and classic hues can include dark blue, black, brown and graphite.
Trench coats Maison Margiela, Burberry, Balenciaga
Almost anything can be worn with a versatile trench coat. But almost, warns Marina Ryseva. “When styling with a trench coat, it is better not to use sneakers, skinny jeans, short pants or culottes. These may not have the best effect on the slimming effect of the trench coat,” she explains.