Oh, This Shopping! Shopping Guide for Shopaholics and Anti-shoppers Alike
Text Alina Tsirkunova
In 2008 we are starting a series of articles which will focus on clothing and accessories. We aim at not only guiding you through the main fashion trends of the season but sharing with you some interesting facts from the history of fashion. This month’s item of discussion is the COAT.
“Then Martin drew out his sword and carved his mantle therewith in two pieces in the middle, and gave that one half to the poor man, for he had nothing else to give to him, and he clad himself with that other half.” Jacobus de Voragine, The Golden Legend
The German word mantel, which means coat, comes from the Latin mantellum, signifying “veil” or “mantle”, indicating this garment’s essential function. The coat, in fact, is an outer garment that envelops the body and protects it from the wind, rain and The coat first became fashionable during the Renaissance, with the zimarra (simar) in Italy, a draped coat-dress that was ankle-length in the 14th century and became shorter and fuller during the 15th.
The modern coat came into existence in the 18th century, with the redingote, inspired by the riding coat worn by the English gentry. This was a completely new type of coat in that it was slightly shaped, smooth-fitting and calf-length. At the beginning of the 20th century, the design of women’s coats began to vary according to needs and functions. This gave us the walking, the traveling and the motoring coat, which was either a canvas paletot or a dust coat. It was the first item of clothing that went into mass production. Much later, Christian Dior introduced a fitted coat with a full skirt, which was also called a redingote. In 1952, he deferred to the ligne sinueuse by introducing a half-belt at the waist. In 1957, coats became particularly voluminous, as dictated by the ligne libre. In the early 1960s, these two styles were joined in the creations of Cristobal Balenciaga: a straight-cut coat with raglan sleeves. His brilliant designs derived from an impeccable cut that gave women complete freedom of movement.
In 1954, Christian Dior said, “Personally, I don’t like to see women in town not wearing a coat.” This phrase is absolutely applicable to this season. Coats are musthaves for this winter and spring. Designers are offering a great variety of forms and materials, for any taste. They can be soft and slouchy and worn with a thin belt, ovoid (see the picture of the 1930s coat) or a swing silhouette, a refined military style, with the emphasis on elbow-length sleeves.
“It was one of those splendid items of clothing that express the entire history of the life of a woman: her sentiments, affections, passions, dreams and moments of madness: an article that you could wear until the very end and never give away to anyone,” wrote Gustave Flaubert in 1845. We can’t disagree with this writer, and with the choice that we have now. We can express our individuality only with a coat.
Russia’s severe climate lets us wear a coat for quite a long period of the year as it saves us from cold, rain and snow. An overcoat is the first refuge. Men’s coats derived mainly from military overcoats. The medieval and renaissance coat (generally spelled cote by costume historians) was a mid-length, “Sleeve”-sleeved men’s outer garment, fitted to the waist and buttoned up the front, with a full skirt. In its essentials, it is not unlike the modern coat.
Here are the myriad styles of coats with their common names: Basque, Duster, Frock, Garibaldi jacket, Greatcoat, Justacorps, Morning coat or cutaway, Norfolk jacket, Redingote, Smoking jacket, Spencer, Tailcoat, Anorak (parka), hooded jacket, Blazer, Bolero, Car coat, Chesterfield, Dinner jacket or Tuxedo jacket, Down coat, Duffle Coat, Eisenhower jacket, Field Jacket, M-65 field jacket, Jeans jacket or denim jacket, Lab coat, Medical coat, Mess jacket, Motorcycle jacket, Opera coat, Overcoat, Pea coat or P coat, Raincoat, Sports coat, Suit coat, Topcoat, Trench coat, Walking coat, 7/8 coat.
Cara&Co winzavod, 4th Syromyatnichesky Per. 6, Blgd. 1
Tel.: +7 (495) 223-4101
Dolche & Gabbana TSUM, Petrovka Street 2
Burberry Stoleshnikov Per., 10
Tel.: +7 (495) 933-4275