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  • Iconic Designs: The Trench Coat

    Discover the history of this timeless outerwear garment

    From soldiers to supermodels, the trench coat - never initially designed to be so glamorous - is a chic wardrobe essential that has become an icon of British fashion.

  • The invention of the trench coat in its classic form is credited to Thomas Burberry, who in 1879 developed the fabric 'gabardine' made from a tightly woven and water-repellent cloth. Prior to this, its only competitor, the Mackintosh (invented by Charles Mcintosh and made from a rubbersied waterproof fabric with a distinctly unpleasant smell) had been in wide use since as early as 1823. 

  • Favoured for its lightweight, breathable nature, during the First World War, Burberry was comissioned to create nearly half a million macs made from gabardine, which were supplied to officers serving in the army - this is how it got it's name, the 'trench' coat.    

    Burberry’s traditional long trench coat featured ten buttons, storm flaps, epaulettes, and buckles. It tied at the waist with a belt and metal D-rings, which were useful during the war for hooking on accessories, such as binoculars and map cases. Very little has changed from the original design, although during the 1920’s, Burberry introduced the signature red and beige check as lining in their own brand of coats.  

  • The style has grown in popularity over the years due to its versatile nature - it can be dressed just as easily for the office as it can be dressed up for evening wear or worn simply over jeans. Everyone from the Hollywood elite to members of royalty have chosen to wear this style - famously worn by Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's, and still celebrated year upon year by Burberry in its glamourous advertising campaigns featuring various new generation stars, it's clear to see how it has earnt its status. 


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