What does a trench coat represent? For stylist Kate Young, it’s a marker of sophistication, exploration, and evergreen style. “Whether you’re in fashion or you’re not in fashion, you know what this piece is,” Young says. On the latest episode of Hello Fashion, her YouTube show created with The Slowdown, Young introduces us to the piece’s original architect—the British luxury fashion house Burberry—and opens our eyes to its many intricacies.
The inception of the brand, Young explains, was rooted in a very practical, universal problem: rain. Throughout most of the 19th century, clothing made to protect against the elements was heavy, bulky, and difficult to move in. In 1879, British outfitter Thomas Burberry devised a solution—a new lightweight, breathable, weatherproof, and tear-proof fabric called gabardine—and patented it in 1888. These qualities made the fabric coveted by explorers of all kinds. Notably, Young explains, Burberry made the first coat to go to the poles and, in 1937, the house designed flight suits for aviators Arthur Edmond Clouston and Betty Kirby-Green, who embarked on a record-breaking flight from Croydon, England, to Cape Town, South Africa.
Gabardine’s practical qualities also made it a sound option for military apparel. So, during World War I, Burberry designed the first trench coat using the material. Using a contemporary, army green version of the coat, Young demonstrates the signature elements—many of which are now merely decorative—that made it practical for soldiers, including a waist belt, placket, epaulettes, and D rings (which she notes were originally for fastening items such as grenades).
Young juxtaposes this classic version with a more modern iteration of the coat—a deconstructed composition of multiple layers, multiple fabrics, and unusual proportions. “It makes you think a little bit,” Young says. “It shows you that someone has taken an idea and broken it down and taken it apart and rethought it.”
She then fast-forwards to today, when the world’s top celebrities—among them Billie Eilish, Selena Gomez, and F.K.A. Twigs—regularly sport the brand. Despite this celebrity exposure, Young describes the brand as fundamentally “democratic” in its aesthetic. “Part of what I love about this brand is that it kind of works on everyone,” she says. “I’ve seen dogs wearing Burberry coats. Babies. Kids. Old people. Young people. People in other countries all over the world. It doesn’t really matter where you’re from—you like it.”
Ultimately, the house’s allure comes down to its endurance in both quality and aesthetic appeal. Indeed, for Young, Burberry creations are precious, lifelong pieces that approximate the quality of heirlooms. “I love when clothing items can be handed down along generations,” she says. “It’s rare, and it doesn’t [typically] happen the way it does with jewelry. But with Burberry, it does.”
Watch new and previous episodes of Kate Young’s YouTube show Hello Fashion at youtube.com/kateyoung.
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This year has driven many of us to create a de facto home spa—steeping in long, leisurely baths for solace. One such batEkin Balcıoğlu, a Taos, New Mexico–based artist and the founder and editor-in-chief of Hamam, a new quarterly print publication about the culture of bathing that will release its second issue later this month. Hamam, while bursting with originality, has parallels to Wet magazine, the subversive, now-defunct cult classic founded in 1976 by Leonard Koren (who was the guest on Ep. 78 of our At a Distance podcast) that explored pleasure and play through a loosely water-themed lens.
In 2018, when writer Amitav Ghosh appeared at the Brooklyn Public Library to discuss his book The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable, Joel Whitney, who manages arts and culture programs at the institution, took note. “I was surprised by Amitav’s main iClimate Reads book club, a yearlong digital initiative launched by Whitney’s department and the advocacy group Writers Rebel NYC earlier this fall, suggests otherwise, with climate-focused fiction titles including Bangkok Wakes to Rain by Pitchaya Sudbanthad, The Veins of the Ocean by Patricia Engel, and Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead by Olga Tokarczuk on its roster. The club plans to tackle a handful of nonfiction books, too, such as The One-Straw Revolution: An Introduction to Natural Farming by the late Japanese farmer-philosopher Masanobu Fukuoka, and Why We Swim—the focus of next month’s meeting—by swimmer and surfer Bonnie Tsui.
Sometimes—especially in moments of political strife, pandemics, hurricanes, or all of the above—a television plotline caWatch a train wend its way around the fjords and farms of the Norwegian countryside over the course of seven hours, or see a sweater get made, in the time of a typical work day, from A to Z (beginning with shearing a sheep’s wool), set to the tune of cheery foldogs frolicking on a beach, a meandering stroll among flowering cherry blossoms in Japan, and a sailing trip to Tobago, accompanied by the soothing sounds of waves lapping against a boat’s exterior. The format can arguably be traced to n1963 film “Sleep” consisted entirely of his lover, the poet and performance artist John Giorno, napping. Regardless of its subject matter
For those of us who are lucky enough to have a full plate right now, consider helping those who don’t. One avenue for alCoalition for the Homeless, forced to cancel its annual fall fundraising gala due to the pandemic, is launching the Artist Plate Project, a limited-edition collection of porcelain platters depicting works by 50 legendary artists, including Tauba Auerbach, Ep. 25 of our Time Sensitive podcast). The series will be available on the organization’s website beginning Nov. 16. Profits from the heirloom-worthy tableProspect, will go toward serving the 59,000 New Yorkers who currently live in shelters or who struggle to survive on streets andA recent study by Columbia University predicts that homelessness will increase by 40 to 45 percent within the next year due to Covid-19—making the coalition’