In the spirit of Burberry's new campaign, 'The Art of the Trench', we share with you five things you probably didn't know about its iconic trench coat.

More than just regular outerwear, one can consider the Burberry trench coat as a cultural phenomenon where it is seen on the backs of royalties, celebrities, artists and socialites around the world. The name Burberry itself has become synonymous with the idea of a trench coat, setting the benchmark for all brands worldwide in creating their own rendition of the clothing.

This year, Burberry has launched a campaign called ‘The Art of The Trench’ to redirect the spotlight to its most iconic heritage product – the Burberry trench coat. Lead by Christopher Bailey, both and are continuing the evolution of the brand’s digital innovation and celebration of its heritage.

In the spirit of ‘The Art of the Trench’, we share with you, five things you didn't know about the iconic Burberry trench coat.

It was Tielocken before trench
When Burberry first made its coats, they were called the Tielocken coats, which were simple coats that closed with a single strap and buckle fastening and only featured one button at the collars.

In 1914, Burberry was commissioned by the British War Office to redesign and adapt the coat to the required specifications for World War I, resulting in the new “trench coat”. Some of the added features were the shoulder straps for military epaulets and ‘D’ metal rings on the waist for tools like grenades and water canisters.

Iconic film appearances

Burberry has one of the most worn trench coats on the silver screens; one of the most noted appearances is Casablanca’s Rick Blani (played by Humphrey Bogart) when speaking his iconic line, “Here’s looking at you, kid” to Ilsa Lund Laszlo (played by Ingrid Bergman).

Another famous appearance is Holly Golightly (played by Audrey Hepburn) in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, who braves the rain for a cat and a kiss in a classic beige Burberry trench.

Not only that, these iconic celebrities along with most of the celebrated icons of this generation including Kate Moss, Kate Middleton and Emma Stone have been spotted in a Burberry trench coat on more than one occasion.

Gun flaps and throat latches of the trench

One of the most iconic feature of the Burberry trench coat is its gun flap or sometimes known as the storm flap. While most think it is a padding for gun recoil, the gun flap is actually a protective feature that helps prevent the rain from slipping into the jacket as it runs down the shoulder.

Another feature that protects you from nature's elements is the throat latch that doubles as a scarf when you pop up the collar and button the latch across your neck. However, when you don't need the throat latch for the cold, place it to the back of the collar to help create dimension and shape to the classic Burberry trench coat look.

Water, wind, weather and tear-proof
One of the most significant things about the Burberry trench coat is the use of gabardine fabric, a material specifically made to withstand rough conditions in warfare.

Hence the trench coat is known to be water, wind, weather and tear-proof but did you know that aside from the trench, Burberry also commissions garbardine-made expedition gears to explorers?

Two of the most notable were British Royal Navy Captain Robert Falcon Scott who took shelter from the Antarctic’s bitter elements in a Burberry gabardine tent and Roald Amundsen, who wore Burberry gear in his expedition to become the first man to reach the South Pole.

The new Burberry Bespoke

Having your Burberry trench coat custom-tailored is not something new as you have seen plenty done in the past, but it is a particularly exclusive service.

However, thanks to the innovative mind of Christopher Bailey, Burberry launched a mass customisation service named Burberry Bespoke in 2011 for a made-to-measure and personalised trench coat. Options include adding leather sleeves to a variety of buttons, linings and embellishments to the coat; this service is available via


(Photos: Burberry)

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