Skip Navigation

When we started speaking to Humphrey Bogart’s son, Stephen, about collaborating with the Humphrey Bogart Estate on developing a new trench-coat style, I was already thinking about reintroducing a classic, bigger coat into the collection. Many of our customers were coming into our stores and bemoaning the fact that so many brands were now offering the trench as a skinny, tight-fitting fashion item instead of a protective wrap-around. It struck me that so many contemporary labels produce trench coats that have moved a long way from the style’s origins, which were all tied up with the idea of protecting the wearer from harsh conditions, and a cut that enabled him to easily wear this great design in a functional way over a suit.

Indeed, originally it would have been worn over a uniform, since the trench coat, as the name suggests, first saw service in World War I. So many of the style’s details have their origins in functional purpose: the D-rings on the belt, for example, as hardware on which to clip maps – or, some say, grenades; the gun flap on the chest to protect the wearer from the recoil of a rifle; the cuff straps to keep out water; the epaulettes to keep a sabre strap in place. Indeed, only a modern-day piece of mountaineering kit or technical ski wear will be as thoroughly designed for purpose as a trench coat.

Over time, though, the original spirit of the piece has been slowly eroded so that today, more often than not, a trench coat is a triumph of style over function, not a shield against the weather. But that was not the case in the early-to-mid 20th century, when this coat became stylish without relinquishing any of its protective qualities.

This is the look and feel we are reviving with The Bogart. I dug out the patterns for The Kingsway, which was the style Humphrey Bogart wore, and based the new model on this. The placement of the pockets is the same, as is their size, the sleeves go back to a raglan style, the belt position remains unchanged, and, perhaps most importantly, it’s a big old long coat – around 120cm.

Some things have been updated: the fabric, for example, is a waterproof cotton blend that takes advantage of advances in fabric technology and so will be longer-lasting. And I’ve adapted the shape to reflect the fact that people’s frames are a little larger these days. But in terms of the overall design, The Bogart is very, very similar to the original Kingsway.

When you put it on, you feel this – there is real scale and drama here, a recognisable echo of those amazing trench coats of the 1940s, 50s and 60s that we know so well from iconic movies and iconic movie stars. And pre-eminent among them, where the trench coat is concerned, is Mr Humphrey Bogart himself.

Words: Thomas Harvey