I just could not resist....
SPRING'S CLASSIC MILITARY-STYLED COAT GETS AN EXTREME MAKEOVER
By SYLVI CAPELACI, STYLE EDITOR, TORONTO SUN Tue, February 22, 2005
THE TRENCHCOAT may have a war-torn history, but it's back on fashion's front lines for spring. Now in sleeker, sexier versions of its original utilitarian design, it's the coat to covet. Female versions combine fresh colours, chicness and femininity with practicality and true grit style.
"The trenchcoat has always had a bit of mystery surrounding it," says Canadian menswear designer Douglas Mandel, who last fall was hired by London Fog to inject fresh, young blood into the 84-year-old brand.
"The person wearing the trenchcoat was always the hero or heroine. It has that kind of allure which makes it correct today -- we're all looking for heroes."
In film, fictional superheros ranging from Dick Tracy to Neo in Matrix have sported the trademark trench.
It has come a long way since Thomas Burberry created the first prototype which was adopted as part of the full service uniform of 500,000 British men and officers in World War I. Named for its suitability in trench warfare, the sturdy serge coats were usually in basic tan, khaki, beige or black and of a 10-button, double-breasted style with a removable lining. It was detailed with epaulettes (used to carry insignia, gloves or folding service caps), storm and gun flaps, buckled cuff-straps (to keep wind and rain out) and a belt with metal D-rings (for securing grenades, sidearms or swords).
The trenchcoat survived WWI and WWII and its cachet heightened as Hollywood's leading ladies embraced the look.
Who doesn't remember that powerful image of a sopping wet Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast At Tiffany's clutching her cat tucked under her chic Burberry trenchcoat? Bogart and Bergman wore his and her trenches on that rainy runway in Casablanca.
Silver screen stars such as Bette Davis, Greta Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Grace Kelly and Katharine Hepburn all elevated the coat to celebrity status. Burberry trenchcoats had starring roles in Marcello Mastrioanni's films throughout the '50s and '60s. They also appeared in Torn Curtain (1966), The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976), Kramer Vs. Kramer (1979) and Wall Street (1987).
While Burberry's trench with signature plaid lining remains the iconic leader of the pack, most clothing companies have tailored this military-minded coat for today's most fashion-forward foot soldiers.
OUT OF THE FOG
London Fog's signature trench coat has re-emerged as a younger, sleeker version of its former self.
"We've cleaned up the look and modernized the fit for both men and women, with a slimmer shoulder and more tapered body," says Mandel.
The ladies' colour palette has doubled from basic black, tan and khaki to bright pastels that include pistachio, sunlight, candy pink and sorbet blue. Taking the look further forward are fun linings in leopard prints, polka dots or stripes.
Noah Stern, president of Freed & Freed, which brought London Fog to Canada in the 1960s, says the revitalization of the trenchcoat was necessary to facilitate the changing needs of their customers.
"The woman of today is a younger, more fashionable consumer, regardless of her age," says Stern.
Spanner, a 30-year-old Canadian lifestyle clothing brand has also knocked the starch out of the trenchcoat to make it less proper and more pretty.
"There has been this whole revolution of the ladylike look. Even though the trenchcoat is traditionally a masculine item, it is a great foil for spring's very feminine looks," says Spanner designer Susan Lee, who suggests wearing your trench with a peg skirt, slouchy menswear trouser or caprispaired with a camisole or chiffon blouse and spectator pumps.
Spanner's spring collection includes trenches in soft linens, water-resistant nylon or reversible styles that flip from a solid to perky polka-dot or floral print.
"The reversible trenches are versatile by allowing you to go from wearing a classic coat one day to something fun and trendy the next," Lee says.
TRENCHCOAT OR RAINCOAT?
What is the difference between a trenchcoat and a raincoat?
Though trenchcoats are often worn as raincoats, word-detective.com says they are as different as a Ford Explorer is to an Austin-Healy. It compares the slick Sam Spade (Humphrey Bogart) who wore a trenchcoat in The Maltese Falcon to the dishevelled '70s TV detective Columbo, who always wore a raincoat. Raincoats are typically single-breasted with a small collar and raglan sleeves. Trenchcoats are easily identifiable by their epaulettes, gun flap, back yoke, wrist straps and belt -- which, by the way, should always be worn cinched, not belted.
Freed & Freed International, the Canadian licensee for London Fog brand, recently initiated a donation program to Shelternet women's shelters in Ontario, Quebec and Manitoba.
"Our five-year goal is to reach every shelter in Canada and to help women and their children in difficult times as best we can," said Freed & Freed president Noah Stern. To date, the company has donated about $800,000 in new coats to shelters across the country, lent financial support, and through garment hangtags continues to raise awareness. Shelternet.ca.
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02-22-2005, 03:35 PM #1
- Join Date
- Mar 2002
- Loco madidus effercio in rutilus effercio.
Mmmmm Grace Kelly And Trench Warfare....If you don't do it RIGHT today, when will you have time to do it over? (Hall of Fame basketball player/coach John Wooden)
"I may be slow, but my work is poor." Chief Dave Balding, MVFD
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02-23-2005, 02:04 PM #2
Trenchcoats...adored and approved by "flashers" everywhere
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