Catherine McNeil photographed by Tobias Lundkvist and styled by Columbine Smille.

Catherine McNeil photographed by Tobias Lundkvist and styled by Columbine Smille.

THE PEACOAT

Fashion lives in the contrasts. A classic, masculine peacoat is the perfect match for a slinky, feminine skirt – and creates a dramatic silhouette.

The YSL version of the peacoat from 1962, TT

THE STORY BEHIND IT
The origin of the peacoat has been debated over the years. The Dutch, the Brits and the Americans all want to take credit for it. No wonder – the peacoat is a truly great garment. Seafarers were the first to sport this double-breasted, classy coat in the 1700s and the most common theory says the word emerged from the Dutch ”pijjakker” – where ”pij” referred to a certain type of fabric. It seems logical, as the Dutch were a global naval power back then. The peacoat was integrated in the uniform for the British navy in the late 1800s, and the American navy followed suit in the early 1900s. 

Yves Saint Laurent, the original master of outerwear, introduced the peacoat on the catwalk. His peacoat for women, presented in 1962, is one of the iconic items in the history of fashion. (In that same year, he also introduced the trench coat.)

The YSL version of the peacoat had gold buttons, and was a hit amongst the chic Parisian women like the Yves Saint Laurent muse Catherine Deneuve, and her sister Françoise Dorléac. While Yves Saint Laurent paired his peacoat with classic white trousers on the catwalk, Deneuve often wore hers with 1960's a-line dresses showing the peacoat’s versatility; it’s equally stylish whether worn with baggy boyfriend jeans or with a pencil skirt. 

HOW TO STYLE IT
”The peacoat is the perfect outerwear,” says stylist Columbine Smille, acknowledging its versatility.

”It’s a modern classic; it’s practical, you can wear it with anything and it never goes out of style.”

Despite its rather masculine, workwear look, the peacoat goes very well together with more feminine styles. For this shoot, Smille styled a classic peacoat with a ribbed, sexy midi skirt. ”It’s one of my favourite combos – a peacoat, a tight roll-neck sweater and a pencil skirt.”

 

Despite its rather masculine, workwear look, the peacoat goes very well together with more feminine styles. For this shoot, Smille styled a classic peacoat with a ribbed, sexy midi skirt. ”It’s one of my favourite combos – a peacoat, a tight roll-neck sweater and a pencil skirt.”

Jane Birkin, Catherine Deneuve in Belle De Jour, Ali MacGraw in Love Story from 1970, Francoise Dorleac on the cold set of Billion Dollar Brain, Hermès take on the peacoat from their fall/winter 2014 collection, Alexa Chung and Marianne Faithfull from 1967, All Over Press.
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