It’s never too soon to think about a new coat, and this year we are spoilt for choice. There are tartans and houndstooths, shaggy sheepskins and furs, capes and reworkings of the classic camel coat. But the aesthetic I like best is pared down, with the focus on long, clean lines and lightweight fabrics. These are coats with timeless appeal that should long outlast this “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”.
“The long and lean lightweight coat is great for travelling and layering,” agrees Natalie Kingham, buying director at Matchesfashion.com. “Our customers want their outerwear to work for different climates and occasions, and this style adds easy warmth without bulk. This season designers have also lengthened these coats to look chicer and more luxe.”
Christophe Lemaire has done this beautifully: he has a stunning maxi-coat (£950) in lambswool melton with billowing sleeves, but more striking still is a light herringbone-tweed coat (£890, second picture) pulled together with a broad wooden belt. And The Row has a well-cut, wonderfully simple white wool coat (£1,800) that could go anywhere and always look like the heirloom piece it is.
Also in white is J JS Lee’s soft-as-a-cloud coat (£1,375, third picture) in wool jersey, inspired by designer Jackie Lee’s childhood: “I played with oversized shapes and super-long lengths to represent my love of dressing up in my mother’s clothes and the desire to be older than my years,” she says. At Ferragamo you’ll find the same simplicity of line and lean silhouette but in vibrant geometric patterns (£12,225, first picture) and belted, like many designs, above the waist.
The elegant Italian label Agnona, stable mate to Zegna, uses masculine fabrics for tailored overcoats with long voluminous silhouettes that play on an androgynous appeal. Typical of the aesthetic is a sleek, beautifully cut coat (£7,095) in double-faced cashmere Prince of Wales check. And for sheer swagger it’s hard to beat Lanvin’s charcoal and white windowpane check long oversized coat (£2,135, fourth picture) that ties together with a sash. Finally, for those with a soft spot for camel, this winter sees a big revival of this perennial classic. MaxMara was inspired by a series of photographs of Marilyn Monroe on a Californian beach in 1962 by George Barris – in particular, one of her swaddled in a much-washed camel blanket. The result? A soft-as-butter wraparound camelhair coat (£1,320) – ruffled hair and low décolleté optional.