The fashionable Burberry, forged in war and built to last

An appreciation of the quintessentially British coat, in town now

Trench coats from past runway collections.

Few items stand the test of time, but one that's ever so iconic, and literally has the ability to last through wear and tear, is Burberry's trench coat. If you're a fan of this British luxury house, head down to their flagship in Siam Paragon now for their travelling exhibition -- "Tales Of A Trench Coat" -- which celebrates the history and evolution of its most iconic item.

For the uninitiated, it is called the trench coat because it was invented for wear in the trenches by soldiers of World War I. On display is the history of the gabardine fabric, invented by Thomas Burberry. This significant and weatherproof invention is nothing short of a marvel, considering how it was founded in an age before Gore-Tex and plastic were prominent. As if the workshop has landed in Bangkok, visitors can see the construction one coat must go through, with up to 100 different craftsmen responsible for different parts of the trench coat. Seasonal coats are made at different factories around the world, but the heritage coat will be made only in England. Images from the archives that advertise both the brand and coats are present too, for vintage graphic buffs.

The different colours of thread customers can choose to have their monogram made with.

It's not only a black-and-white history lesson, as a display of trench coats from past runway collections are also showcased in another room. These sometimes splashy, seasonal pieces feature voluptuous frills, metallic pink finishes or even neon hues for the truly frisky who can pull it off. It's an encompassing look at how a staple piece can morph into more fashionable or colourful incarnations, with the wall of bright-hued threads a nod to another service that allows you to weave your identity into your coat. The online store will have additional costs for monogrammed initials on your coat, but if ordered through Thailand's store, the service is complimentary.

What's really neat, however, and a step even more advanced, is that the company is also offering a line called Burberry Restored, should the seasonal pieces and current heritage ones still not strike your fancy. Apparently, there's a team that goes out to find old Burberry heritage trench coats around the world, then brings them back to the UK to be fixed into tip-top shape again, before they are sold as vintage pieces. These are actually more expensive than the brand-new ones, of course, but will be unique in the sense that they flaunt details that have evolved into disappearance, as the heritage coat goes through changes across the decades. Check it out only in Tokyo, Seoul and Shanghai. It's one that will stand the test of time, though, as these old pieces are still quite intact even before restoration. Whichever coat you settle on, prepare to live with it forever.

"Tales Of A Trench Coat" will be on display at the Burberry flagship until July 23. The Portrait Studio photography set, which allows visitors to snap a picture of themselves amid the new February collection, will be available until July 17.

Thomas Burberry founded Burberry in 1856.

Images from the archives that feature Burberry's advertisements and tags.

Images from the archives that feature Burberry's advertisements and tags.

Images from the archives that feature Burberry's advertisements and tags.


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