The update: Trench coat
The Burberry trench has been worn by soldiers, royalty, celebrities and all ye regular folk, and it’s been a fashion staple for over a century. It has come to define democratic luxury, and with Christopher Bailey at the helm of Burberry design, what used to be a weatherproof, functional coat made using only gabardine (invented by Thomas Burberry), is now a style necessity swathed in colour and created in a multitude of fabrics.
It only took three years for Burberry’s current CEO and Creative Director to inject it with attitude and reposition it for a young, hip clientele. He took one classic piece and with every passing year, created a slew of new classics.
In 2005, Bailey united fashion and good karma with the pink trench (30 per cent of sale proceeds went to UK’s Breakthrough Breast Cancer) and the ombré coats of S/S 2009 were a prelude to the sweeping change he would bring to the company. S/S 2010 saw him modernising the trench into a mini dress with an exaggerated ruched hem, cinched at the waist with military-style belts and finished off with khaki socks and towering platforms; the S/S 2011 collection had a hard edge with trenches in leather, embellished with metal spikes and studs; the kink quotient continued to dominate in F/W 2013-14 with latex coats and S/S 2014 was a return to grace with soft cashmere in pastels and tender rose motifs in genteel lace.
Also under Bailey’s watch, the 158-year-old luxury label became one of the first to plunge headlong into the digital space with the Art of the Trench project (Artofthetrench.burberry.com), using high-profile image-makers to shoot influencers across the world in their trench coats – Sartorialist Scott Schuman flagged off the project in 2009, while Manou of Wearabout fame captured the Indian scene. Not limited to being a ‘street style’ blog, the interactive project became a platform for customers (existing and aspirational) to upload images of themselves in their trenches and take in the applause from social communities. In fact, smart, everybody-is-welcome moves are quickly becoming Burberry’s métier, and addressing their growing markets, the 2014 campaigns have Indian-origin models Neelam Gill (née Johal) and Tarunjit Nijjer, both 19, in starring roles: wearing the trench, of course.
Let the outerwear classic help you stay dry, in style
Add a luxe touch to your cool, casual look with an unexpected accessory like a string of diamonds.
With the coat acting as protection, work up the courage to take your crop top out for a spin.
Why stick to the tried and tested route? Skip the classic beige for a cheery colour that will keep your spirits up in rainy weather.
Make like Annie Hall and add boyish layers to your ensemble. Match the slouchiness of the coat with baggy, tailored trousers.
Silk crop top, Rs 3,800, 11.11. Gabardine trench coat, Rs 1,12,000, Burberry. Silk trousers, Rs 7,400, Akaaro by Gaurav Jai Gupta. Leather lace-up heels, Rs 11,490, Nine West. Diamond necklace, price on request, Forevermark
Photograph: Ashish Shah. Styling: Arushi Parakh. Make-up and hair: Sonam Kapoor. Model: Kanika Dev
Click through the slideshow to see how to update the classic trench.
Gold plated necklace with Swarovski elements and pearls, Rs 6,000, Prerto
Leather sandals, price on request, Balmain
Blue chino trousers, Rs 1,690, Zara
Cotton cropped top, Rs 990, Mango