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Our favourite trench-coat-on-film moments

Our favourite trench-coat-on-film moments

What do Hollywood greats like Audrey Hepburn and the trench coat have in common? They’re both universally adored and the archetype of timeless elegance. It’s no wonder, then, that they’ve been paired on the big screen for years to create some iconic movie moments. From Meryl Streep’s scene at the park in "Kramer vs Kramer" to Bardot’s ‘60s spy look in "Une Ravissante Idiote", the trench coat, with its nipped-in waist and sharp collar, has long been a decisive way to paint a picture of a stylishly strong female character. 

And this effect isn’t limited to the screen sirens of Hollywood – you too can emulate the look. All it takes is a trench coat worthy of a starring role (in your wardrobe) and a little inspiration from cinema’s leading ladies.

Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961)

Think of "
Breakfast at Tiffany’s" and your mind probably goes straight to the image of Hepburn in her black cocktail dress, clutching a cigarette holder. But we argue that her Burberry trench coat moment is even more iconic – it does appear in the heart-warming final scene, after all.

It’s also thanks to Hepburn that the classic trench coat style is so treasured today. Her way of making this once-military item look so impossibly chic won the hearts of women everywhere, and is still a firm favourite in our wardrobes today. 

How to emulate Hepburn’s timeless trench coat look

“Audrey Hepburn’s style was all about easy elegance, so think classic pieces when it comes to emulating her look,” says Thread stylist Millie Rich. “A timeless black midi dress in a floaty cut and loafers are the first items that spring to mind. And the accessories? Nothing too colourful is key here – a muted silk scarf and low-key gold earrings will add just the right amount of polish to this look.”

Brigitte Bardot in “Une Ravissante Idiote” (1964)

Brigette Bardot embodies everything we associate with ‘60s style: the voluminous hair, playful hemlines, and an alluring sense of rebellion. And it’s in the comedy film “Une Ravissante Idiote”
, where Bardot plays a spy’s partner in crime, that these traits really come to life. 

How to emulate Bardot’s ‘60s trench coat look

“Go mini! We can’t talk about ‘60s style and not mention the mini silhouette, which was born in this decade,” Millie says. "The shorter hemline of this trench coat lends itself to styling with more playful pieces, like this checked Ganni dress. As we’re approaching spring, (and, hopefully, some warmer weather) skip the tights and try it with another 1960s classic instead: knee-high boots.”

Meryl Streep in “Kramer vs Kramer” (1979)

Ruth Morley, the costume designer for “Kramer vs Kramer”, uses carefully selected clothing – especially the trench coat – to depict Streep’s character, a working mother who divorces her husband. Her polished, no-nonsense outfits, which includes the classic double-breasted Burberry trench, buttoned-up shirts, and heeled boots, portray the character’s sense of control through the turmoil of her divorce. And it’s exactly that refined, ‘70s-inspired aesthetic that caught our stylist’s attention.

How to emulate Streep’s ‘70s trench coat look 

“I love how costume designer Ruth Morley dresses Streep’s character in head-to-toe brown and neutrals, with hints of cornflower blue, throughout the whole film to capture the understated glamour of ‘70s style,” Millie says.

"Her belted, epaulette-trimmed trench coat lends her look a level of British stoicism – the perfect note to draw inspiration from when thinking about your trench coat look. Add in pieces like checked wool trousers and riding boots to nod to heritage style, and finish with a light blue shirt in an oversized cut to pay homage to Streep’s look, while keeping it relevant for today.”

Lauren Hutton in “American Gigolo” (1980)

“American Gigolo”
is up there with the greatest sartorial moments in film, especially where the trench coat is concerned. Lauren Hutton steals the limelight with her relaxed tailoring and effortlessly cool all-American look that became synonymous with ‘80s style. 

In fact, it’s often said that the loose tailoring of Hutton’s Giorgio Armani trench coat seen in this film gave rise to the unstructured tailoring of the 1980s. And, as this decade’s style has cycled back into fashion, it’s a look that feels particularly relevant today.

How to emulate Hutton’s ‘80s trench coat look

“You don’t have to go too far into the slouchy category to achieve the look – make like Hutton and belt your relaxed-cut trench at the waist. Teaming it with loose cuts like a drapey blouse and wide-leg jeans will nod to the aesthetic’s effortless elegance,” Mille says.

“If you’re a fan of the film, you’ll know Hutton’s signature style move: a soft leather Bottega Veneta clutch nonchalantly tucked under her arm. I’ve chosen a similar design to pay homage to this.”

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Words: Ashlie Brombley
Styling: Millie Rich