From Deconstructed to Surreal, the Trench Coat Shape-Shifts This Spring

John Galliano, Sarah Burton, Lutz Huelle, and others rework the wardrobe staple garment by cutting and amplifying its parts.

Photos: Courtesy of brands.

(Clockwise from top left: Alexander McQueen, Loewe, Maison Margiela, Valentino, Lutz Huelle, and Céline)

The trench coat, much like the BBC and afternoon tea, is a time-honored English institution. This spring, British designers challenge the status quo by deconstructing and distressing the sand-colored staple. At Maison Margiela, John Galliano dissected the shell-like coat, punctuating a chaotically cut iteration with dazzling, disco ball–esque square mirrors. In Sarah Burton’s rendition for Alexander McQueen, panels of fabric dangle below the empire waist, elegantly framing fitted silk brocade. Taking an asymmetrical approach, Jonathan Anderson opted for a bias cut at Loewe, animating a coat’s diagonal hem with strips of twisted fabric. While the Brits turned up the drama, others went subtle, yet surreal. Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli transformed gun flaps into oversize pockets, and German designer Lutz Huelle exaggerated and displaced sleeves, stitching gathers into the shoulder seams for a rippling drape effect. For her final spring collection at Céline, Phoebe Philo—English by birth—stuck with the European set by extending the hemline for a cape-like effect, capturing the underlying message of these designs: the most fun thing about traditions is breaking them. 

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