Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Burberry Heritage Trench Coats ... From Weather Protection to Effortless Elegance

Isn’t it ironic that what used to be a garment of protection from the harsh wind and rain for the British military officers has somehow evolved into an iconic, must-have item in the wardrobe for all seasons? 

Yes, I am talking about one of the most historic inventions in the fashion world the Burberry trench coat.

From celebrities to the royalties, it is clear that the Burberry trench coat has become a style staple, be it for casual stroll in the streets or on the red carpet events.  

Invented and patented by Thomas Burberry in 1912, the trench coat has become an ultimate icon that represents the timelessness of British style, design innovation and not to forget, the epitome of modern-day luxury as Burberry trench coats usually fall between RM7, 495.00 to RM7, 895.00 apiece for men and between RM6, 395.00 to RM7, 195.00 for women, depending on fit. 

As an essential protective wear worn by the soldiers back in the 20th century, comfort and durability against the tough and oftentimes unpredictable English weather were important.

In the days where fabrics were either waxed or rubberised to repel water, making them heavy, stiff and uncomfortable to wear for long periods, the creation of gabardine paved way to a new rainwear revolution. A woven material made from yarn woven in a compact twill construction with over 100 interlaced threads per centimetre, gabardine allows the body to breathe as the microscopic open spaces in the weaves provide ventilation. 

Furthermore, the compact structure prevents rain from permeating into the fabric. Triple proofed, the material does not provide mere extra protection against the weather but also something lightweight to wear over the uniform at the same time.

A century may have passed yet the gabardine fabrics used for Burberry trench coats are still fabricated using well-preserved traditional techniques with new, modern finishing processes that make it more water-repellent than ever before at the Burberry mill in England. Though textile making process is not a rocket science per se, creating a gabardine from scratch is a meticulous process indeed.

The cotton is chosen for the fineness and length of its fibres, which give a clean surface texture and enhanced strength, and later double spun into super-strong and durable yarn created through a process known as doubling. 

Even the colour of the material is strictly controlled and must be signed off by the experts at the mill. Only after receiving the final approval, the fabric undergoes finishing and twice checked by the eyes to ensure its flawlessness.

Next, the material is delivered to Castleford, a town in the northern part of England where workers ― or trench coat artisans as I would call them ― combine the traditional savoir-faire with modern technology. 

To complete a trench coat will take an approximate three weeks with 100 highly skilled processes must be completed to ensure quality and unique appearance that Burberry trench coat is widely known for.

Now, the four-figure sum imposed on a Burberry trench coat may make many of us thinking more than twice or alternatively opt for the cheaper version available at most high street stores, what makes a Burberry trench coat a bona fide fashion investment ― a wardrobe investment that you will never regret?

The answer definitely lies in its unique characteristics. Unique to Burberry trench coats, the collar possesses the most intricate stitching as it takes up to a year for a trench coat artisan to learn how to stitch a perfect collar alone, using method that is part of Burberry design DNA. 

There are 115 tiny stitches per inch along the length of the collar, hence creating a fluid curve that ensures perfect positioning of the collar on the neck. 

Next is detailing. The cuff straps and belt are constructed and stitched, resulting clean and flat edges while the back pleat formation has remained the same since the last 100 years, staying true to the design made for horse riding.

If you wonder where does the unparalleled comfort ― so comfortable, you can even wear it on its own! ― comes from; it certainly comes from the lining. 

Each coat is lined with the iconic Burberry check, a badge of origin since the 1920s that is made up of signature hue union of camel, ivory, red and black. 

The lining is carefully cut and placed to ensure the check design is symmetrical and unbroken while the undercollar lining features a bias positioning with the lines of the check meeting at exactly 45 degrees.

To date, the trench coats are available in three colours taken from the Burberry Heritage archive – honey, stone, and black – and crafted in several fits according to gender: three for women (Sandringham, Kensington and Westminster); four for men (Sandringham, Kensignton, Wiltshire, and Westminster) and two for children (Sandringham for boys and Sandringham for girls).        

Burberry Heritage trench coats are available now at all Burberry stores and Burberry.com

*Photos courtesy of Burberry

Burberry – Lot 438, Ground Floor, Suria KLCC, Jalan Ampang, 50088 Kuala Lumpur; Couture Pavilion, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, 168 Jalan Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur; Lot G222, Ground Floor, The Gardens Mid Valley, Mid Valley City, 59200 Kuala Lumpur; Passenger Level, Satellite A, Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Sepang.

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