A clas­sic coat goes rogue

They may have started out as a uni­form, but the lat­est duf­fle coats are a smart way to stand out.

Esquire (Singapore) - - Style -

Some­times, the bold­est trends can trace their ori­gins back to cloth­ing that was lit­er­ally stan­dard-is­sue. So it is with the hum­ble duf­fle coat. It be­came part of a Royal Navy sea­man’s uni­form in the 1890s. Made of sturdy dou­ble-faced wool, it fea­tured a dis­tinc­tive roomy hood (to ac­com­mo­date naval caps) and tog­gle­and-cord clo­sures (easy to op­er­ate, even with gloves). After World War II, a tidal wave of duf­fles hit the UK sur­plus mar­ket. Im­pov­er­ished un­der­grads snapped them up for cheap and wore them to cof­fee­houses, wine bars and jazz clubs, mak­ing them an in­stant sig­ni­fier of post­war coun­ter­cul­tural hip. They’ve waf­fled in and out of style ever since, al­ways with a slightly re­bel­lious at­ti­tude (thanks, beat­niks) un­til this sea­son, when a newer, edgier duf­fle hit run­ways. Brands like Valentino, Sa­cai and Lanvin took the old coat’s DNA and in­tro­duced some wel­come mu­ta­tion in the form of punchy col­ors, punk-rock pat­terns and high­end hard­ware. More than a cen­tury on, it looks like the duf­fle has fi­nally, fully, bro­ken from the pack. Coat, SGD3,702*, sweater, SGD935*, shirt, SGD935*, and jeans, SGD1,608*, by Valentino.

Words by Jon Roth Pho­to­graphs by Al­lie Hol­loway Coat, SGD5,237*, turtle­neck, SGD935*, and trousers, SGD935*, all by Lanvin; shoes (SGD1,029*), by Tod’s.

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