Worth the Splurge for Your Most Stylish Friends: This Artist-Designed Trench Coat From Burberry
On the tenth day of Artmas, we spotlight an artful edition of this time-honored fashion staple.
Welcome to The 12 Days of Artmas, our new, non-denominational holiday extravaganza—an advent calendar with gift ideas and stories for art lovers of all stripes, dropping daily through December 24.
In 1900, the British War Office asked Thomas Burberry—founder and namesake of the British fashion house—to create a coat for the military that was durable, but not too heavy. Using a new fabric that he had created himself, called “gabardine”—a lightweight, waterproof twill composed of individually coated strands of cotton and wool—Burberry crafted his now-classic trench coat.
Burberry’s trench became instantly popular with the troops—and soon after, with pilots and adventure travelers. Reportedly, Anglo-Irish explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton wore one on all three of his expeditions to Antarctica between 1914 and 1917, while camping in tents that were also made of gabardine.
Since then, the trench has become a sartorial anchor as well—not only for the house of Burberry, but for contemporary fashion at large. It has been famously worn by a number of cultural figures, including Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca—he’s clad a camel-colored style while uttering, “Here’s looking at you, kid,” to Ingrid Bergman—and Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, as she looks frantically for her lost cat in the pouring rain.
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Indeed, there are few garments as timeless as the Burberry trench. Should you wish to gift one this season, you might consider the special-edition Burberry x Ssense Beige Mythical Alphabet Embroidered Exploded Motif Trench Coat, from the British fashion house’s new collaboration with e-commerce site Ssense.
Burberry chief creative officer Riccardo Tisci tapped the renowned English graphic designer Peter Saville as well as London-based visual artist and illustrator Jo Ratcliffe to co-design the collection, which features the lines and shapes of animals on men’s and women’s trenches and accessories—including this cotton-twill piece, with its faun motif and block-print Burberry B.
The collaboration made its debut earlier this year at the Burberry Soho store in New York, alongside a nine-minute film, A-B-City, directed by the NY-based collective Torso Solutions and written by arts writer Natasha Stagg, visual artist Juliana Huxtable, and writer, musician, and dancer Brontez Purnell. W magazine described the film as “an abstract meditation on coping with extreme change.” Set in New York City, it features Alexis Chaparro, Lourdes Leon, and Selyna Brillare clad in the Burberry x Ssense collection—a very stylish constant.
The Burberry x Ssense Beige Mythical Alphabet Embroidered Exploded Motif Trench Coat is available for purchase here, priced at $3,750.
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