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Burberry—The Art of the Trench Coat

[ 2010-11-05 13:10]     字号 [] [] []  
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By Susan Pfiefer

卓言 选 孔媛媛 译

Like the Chanel suit and the Birkin bag, the Burberry trench coat is one of fashion’s most iconic pieces. Its globally recognized name, trademark, and signature trenchcoat have been synonymous with quality and enduring style for over 150 years.

Founder Thomas Burberry was born in 1835 and apprenticed in the drapery trade, establishing his own drapery business in Basingstoke, Hampshire, in 1856. A sportsman, Burberry was dissatisfied with the then-popular rubberized raincoat, which was heavy, restricting, and stifling, and thus unsuitable for extended outings. Inspired by country folk’s loose “smocks”, Burberry designed a tightly woven fabric made from water-repellent linen or cotton yarn. Although sturdy and tear-resistant, this “Burberry-proofed” cloth was lightweight and allowed air to circulate, making it considerably more comfortable than the heavy mackintosh. The tailor trademarked his cloth “Gabardine”, a Shakespearean term that referred to shelter from inclement weather. Burberry developed five different weights of gabardine. He even patented “Burberry-proofed” linings made from silk and wool.

The gabardine name was used under exclusive trademark by Burberry until 1917. Britain’s King Edward, one of the first members of the royal family to don the gabardine coat, has been credited with popularizing the Burberry name by requesting the garment by name. Burberry garments have enjoyed a loyal following among royalty and celebrities around the world ever since. The company’s clientele has included Winston Churchill, George Bernard Shaw, Ronald Reagan, George Bush, Norman Schwarzkopf, and Paul Newman. The company also boasts warrants (endorsements of quality) from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and H.R.H. The Prince of Wales.

Many officers began to wear trench coats at the turn of the century, during the Boer War in South Africa. Famous British generals, such as Lord Kitchener and Lord Baden-Powell preferred the lightweight cotton of trench coats to the heavier, rubberised Macintoshes they had been used to.

With such powerful recommendations, the War Office gave its official approval to the trench coat in 1901, with the Admiralty for the Royal Marines following suit in 1906. And as Lord Kitchener, Commander in Chief of the British Army, began fashioning the trench coat—then referred to simply as a “Burberry”—the place of this clothing item in society was sealed.

With the advent of trench warfare in 1914, trench coats became an essential piece of the military outfit, with added epaulettes and “D” rings to enable the attachment of military equipment. As the trench coat, then the world’s most durable weather coat, was popularised, it is estimated that between 1914 and 1918, 500,000 military trench coats were worn by combatant officers.

When officers returned home after the war, they brought back their trench coats with them and the style became adopted into civilian life. Since then, the trench coat has become a significant cultural icon and has been donned by many famous movie stars, from Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca to Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

The company designed hats, jackets and pants especially for hunting, fishing, golf, tennis, skiing, archery, and mountaineering. The garments’ time—and weather-tested reputation for durability helped make them the gear of choice for adventurers of the late 19th and early 20th century. Balloonists and early aviators wore specially made Burberry garments that let neither wind nor rain penetrate. Captain Roald Amundsen, Captain R.F. Scott, and Sir Ernest Shackleton wore Burberry clothing and took shelter in Burberry tents on their expeditions to the South Pole in the 1910s.

Rainwear became so important to Burberry that the company soon whittled its lines down to little more than trench coats and tailored menswear for much of the 20th century. The conservative manufacturer stuck primarily to its well-known raincoats until the 1960s, when a fluke led Burberry to capitalize on the garments’ trademark tan, black, red, and white plaid lining. It all started with a window display at the company’s Paris store. The shop’s manager spiced up her arrangement of trench coats by turning up the hem of one coat to show off its checked lining, then repeated the check on an array of umbrellas. The clamor for the umbrellas was so immediate and compelling that Burberry’s made and quickly sold hundreds. This experiment eventually led to the introduction of the cashmere scarf, also a perennial best-seller.

Burberry’s success continued throughout the decades. Many more stores have sprouted from the very first outfitters shop in Basingtoke. In the early 20th century, stores opened in Paris and New York while 1970 brought about further growth in New York with its first flagship store on 57th Street. In the latter 20th century and breaking through into the 21st, Burberry started to blossom with stores in San Francisco, Chicago, Boston, New Jersey, Barcelona, Milan, Munich and many more.

The beginning of the 21st century introduced a new venture for the company. They introduced their first fragrance. Burberry has evolved from fine outdoors wear into one of the top labels in high-end fashion today.

With nearly 150 years underneath its belt, the brand remained consistent in quality and timeless designs. Burberry continues to produce some of the most superb items in both luxury and innovative functionality. It has stood the test of time.















trench coat 原为在战壕内穿的防雨大衣,现指任何的翻领大衣、风衣

Birkin bag 柏金包,是由生产皮革及成衣的制造商爱玛仕(Hermès)于1984年推出的一款手提包,以英国歌手珍•柏金(Jane Birkin)的名字命名

mackintosh 〈主英〉马金托什防水胶布,雨衣布

Gabardine 轧别丁。在16世纪英国文学里,和面料有关的词常用gabardine。莎士比亚在作品中曾写道:“我藏身在轧别丁(gabardine)的衣服里,抵抗风暴的侵袭”

Norman Schwarzkopf 诺曼•施瓦茨科普夫,第一次海湾战争时的美国联军司令 Paul Newman 保罗•纽曼,美国好莱坞传奇男影星

H.R.H. His(或Her)Royal Highness殿下(间接提及时用)

Boer War 布尔战争,1899—1902年英国人与布尔人的战争。布尔人是南非荷兰移民的后裔

Kitchener 基钦纳(1850—1916),英国陆军元帅,第一次世界大战时任陆军大臣

Baden-Power 巴登–鲍威尔(1857—1941),英国陆军军官,童子军创建人

follow suit 跟着做,模仿(……的)样子

advent (尤指不寻常的人或事物的)出现,到来

outfit (尤指在特殊场合穿的)全套服装

epaulette (军官制服上的)肩章,肩饰

gear (为某个场合或活动穿的)一套服装

Roald Amundsen 罗纳德•阿蒙森(1872—1928),挪威极地探险家,首次通过西北航道驶往阿拉斯加,1911年率南极探险队最早到达南极

R.F. Scott R.F. 斯科特(1868—1912),英国海军军官、探险家,两次指挥南极探险队,他比阿蒙森晚1个月到达南极,死于归途暴风雪中

Sir Ernest Shackleton 沙克尔顿爵士(1874—1922),英国探险家,率队3次到南极探险,到达南磁极区

fluke 〈口〉偶然机会

clamor 吵吵闹闹的要求

57th Street 57街,位于纽约市中心一条充满艺术气息和高级餐厅的街道

underneath its belt 被自己记住(或获得、赢得、掌握、经历过)

superb 〈口〉最佳的,高质量的,杰出的