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.
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.