Burberry's trench coat rose to stardom as the brand's signature piece; it is a celebrity favorite and is considered one of the brand's most iconic pieces. The coat, originally created to protect officers from inclement weather, has evolved since its debut 100 years ago but has remained timeless, and is one of the most stylish and coveted pieces for autumn-winter.
Thomas Burberry's original, the Burberry Tielocken, featured a coat without buttons and with a belted closure, made from gabardine, a material invented by Thomas Burberry himself that is considered a pinnacle in fashion, as it altered the way rainwear was made. Gabardine is a tightly woven cloth, made from yarn woven in a compact twill construction with over 100 interlaced threads per centimeter. The open spaces, although miniscule, permit ventilation but its compact structure obstructs rain from permeating the fabric. Triple proofing the cloth further enhances its protective qualities, making it a lighter and much more breathable option from the bulky, stiff and uncomfortable alternatives available.
Today, gabardine is woven at the Burberry mill in
England but technological developments have enhanced its water-repellent qualities and further established the Burberry trenchcoat as unique in providing both functionality and timeless style. Producing garbadine is a meticiulous process: only the finest cotton with a sizeable fiber length is chosen to be spun into yarn. Two fine yarns are twisted together before the fabric undergoes finishing and is checked twice by eye. Color, too, is under strict regulation, and must be signed off by experts at the mill.
It is not difficult to see the appeal of the trenchcoat - it is timelessly elegant, a classic piece that embodies the brands ethos. Initially developed for the military, certain design elements remain, such as the epaulettes, then used for displaying the rank of officers and the gun flap which buttoned at the chest for additional protection. A storm shield on the back allows water to run off the coat, keeping the wearer dry while the back pleat allowed for expansion when running or on horseback. The coat is belted at the waist, in order to further protect from the elements, with metal D-rings in place to attach tools.
Burberry trench coats are crafted in Castleford, and take up to three weeks to make, due to the involvement of more than 100 processes that require high skill to ensure quality. The stitching of the collar, in particular, is one of the most unique aspects of the trench coat. This process alone takes up to a year to learn, a method that has long been a part of Burberry's heritage. Some 11.5 stitches per inch are hand-placed by a craftsman along the length of the collar, creating a fluid curve that makes it sit perfectly on the neck. Clean edges are also a big part of the design, which appear on the cuff straps and belt particularly, while the design of the back pleat has not changed in 100 years. And what would a Burberry trench coat be without the classic check print that lines the interior? Originating in the 1920's, the pattern is made up of camel, ivory, red and black. Expert attention is needed to ensure that the interior design is completely symmetrical to achieve a sleek look.
The collection comes in three stellar colors from the Burberry Heritage Archive – honey, stone and black, and is available in three fits: slim, modern or classic. Choose from a range of short, long or mid-length styles in womenswear, menswear and childrenswear.