At Balenciaga the trench was worn off the shoulder and cinched at the waist
At Balenciaga the trench was worn off the shoulder and cinched at the waist

Return of the mac: The timeless trend that’s been given a high-fashion makeover

It promises to be the hardest working item in your wardrobe

Sarah Young
Friday 13 January 2017 13:49
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At this time of year, when the rain just keeps on coming, remaining vaguely put together can be a task. Enter, the trench coat.

Synonymous with wet weather dressing, ever since its first iteration surfaced in the 1850s, the mac has remained a cornerstone of any well-edited wardrobe.

A rarity in fashion’s ever-changing cycle of trends, the timeless design has endured and it’s not going anywhere fast but, neither is the debate concerning its inception.

British brands Aquascutum and Burberry both stake a claim to designing the original trench but, while the former dons the shoulders of former Prime Ministers, with a folly of modern-day A-list celebrity wearers, Burberry has moved with the times.

Trench coats came in blue leather at Balenciaga for autumn/winter 2016 (Getty)

Trench coats never really go out of fashion and, for the most part it has remained true to its heritage in classic brûlée-coloured gabardine but, this season, they’ve been given a renewed lease of life.

For its originator Burberry, the trench came in a variety of iterations from classic to models that spelt sex appeal. Take it unbelted in khaki green, cropped with a playful waterfall front or with larger-than-life leopard print mutton sleeves – here, exaggeration was a recurring theme.

Celine went for blue, buttery leather and wide lapels, Lanvin opted for a high shine black patent maxi, while Balenciaga hit upon strict architectural shapes, cinched in at the waist and worn off the shoulder. This was the trench coat, but not as we’ve seen it before.

The first trench coat was created by Thomas Burberry in the 1850s (Getty)

Though there are as many variations of the trench as there are a LBD, its old-style elegance and warm tobacco hues make it this season’s easiest trend.

But, for additional high-fashion drama, take cue from the runway and order it a size up. Whether you choose to opt for oversized epaulettes, whooping lapels or super-long sleeves, it almost doesn’t matter what you wear underneath.

For autumn/winter, the trench promises to do all the talking.

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