Coat Tales

The Burberry trench has provided cover for military men and movie stars alike

WHEN THOMAS BURBERRY, purveyor of outdoor gear for the sports inclined, was asked by the British War Office in 1914 to adapt his service uniforms for officers to military needs, he could not have imagined that his trench coat—named for its use in the trenches of World War I—would be adopted by fashion icons like Catherine Deneuve and Chloë Sevigny. Yet Burberry, who had started off as an apprentice to a country draper in Basingstoke, England, was used to outfitting the famous. He had, after all, supplied the Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen with his gabardine coats when he headed off to...

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