(Our iconic clothes 5/7) The trench coat

(Our iconic clothes 5/7) The trench coat

In the streets of Paris as well as on her vacation spot, Véronique Chevalier hunts for sale: “Originally from Troyes, my family worked in textiles and paid particular attention to the quality of the fabric”, says this lover of second-hand clothes. It was in her parents’ closet that the style consultant (Her Instagram account: mytrendyvintage) unearthed her first trench coat. “It went perfectly with my Hermès square and my pearl necklace: I wanted the total for my years of law! she laughs. Over the years, the bargain hunter continues to dig up trench coats in thrift stores, to the point of currently owning eight.

“The trench adapts to many styles. Today, for example, I wear it with sneakers and a hoodie. Tomorrow I will choose to match it with a nice shirt. »

It all started around 1820, when the Scottish chemist Charles Macintosh and the English inventor Thomas Hancock created a fabric coat waterproofed with rubber, which would be nicknamed the “mack” (short for Macintosh). From the end of the 19th century, the fashion houses Aquascutum and Burberry made it more “breathable”. These two companies are also arguing over the authorship of the garment. These first macs so british are the ancestors of the trench coat, which was born during the First World War and whose name means in English “trench coat”. It was used by officers, who bought it themselves, and therefore signaled belonging to a higher social and military class.

A cinematic raincoat

In the 1940s, the trench coat burst onto the screen. Sported by Humphrey Bogart in casablanca (1942), it becomes a symbol of virility. Much later, it will be elegantly worn by Alain Delon in The Samurai (1967) and by Robert Redford in The scam (1973). But men don’t have a monopoly on it. As early as 1948, “Marlene Dietrich, the super star of the time, was dressed in a raincoat in The Berlin Scandal. In the eyes of the world, the actress gives chic to a coat hitherto associated with military utilitarianism”, explains Marine Chotard, founder of the vintage boutique Miss Sugar Cane, in Paris. The essential raincoat definitely found its place in all women’s locker rooms during the 1960s. Famous actresses seized on it, such as Audrey Hepburn in Diamonds on couch (1961), Catherine Deneuve in beautiful day (1967) or even Meryl Streep in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979). All enrich the iconography of the elegant woman, wearing the trench coat with a touch of nonchalance. In the 1970s, it was already iconic.

The rare pearl in thrift stores

This timeless basic has specific features: crossover front, belt, D-rings, shoulder tabs. The biggest fashion houses continue to make it evolve without distorting it. Christopher Bailey himself, artistic director of Burberry from 2001 to 2018, for example, dared to cut the pattern of a classic trench coat in an animal print fabric…

Combining elegance and quality, the brand’s trench coats are the most popular. To dig up a second-hand one at an affordable price, fashion lovers explore thrift stores: “The trench coat accompanies the strong comeback of vintage, analyzes personal stylist Isabelle Thomas*. Steal your grandfather’s! Fashion is at oversized, like in the 1990s, and at an ankle length. Belt it to mark the silhouette, and you will have a beautiful look with a garment marked by a personal story. You don’t necessarily need to cross the Channel to find the rare pearl…

*Information : personal-stylist.com

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