Carola Long: Reborn as a unisex classic – despite its naff connotations

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The Independent Online

Macs and trenchcoats have had some bad press over the years – associated with flashers, disreputable private detectives, Cold War spies and Inspector Gadget. Now, however the raincoat is firmly back on the fashion track as a unisex classic.

Beige is the most enduring colour, and enables the wearer to put his her own stamp on the coat. In her book The Language of Clothes, Alison Lurie explains that, "beige is the most neutral of all colours, the least communicative."

In 2006, Kate Moss took advantage of this quality when she appeared in a creamy coloured belted raincoat following her cocaine scandal.

The coat's mainstream comeback was complete and any slightly naff or sinister associations were replaced by more glamorous connotations.

Macs and trenches are synonymous with fashion icons from the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s in particular, from film noir sirens to Audrey Hepburn in the final rain-soaked scene of Breakfast at Tiffanys.

Steve McQueen wore a mac in The Thomas Crown Affair, and Cary Grant was an Aquascutum customer.

Since the coats return, designers from Juntya Watanabe to Burberry have reinvented it using bright colours, luxe fabrics and embellished with studs.