Tuesday, 7 September 2010

So, as promised last week, I'm going to spend some time focussing on the big 'trends' for this season. (Have you ever noticed how the word "focussing" always looks wrong? I just checked; that is the correct spelling, I swear.) As coats are generally quite an important factor for the chillier months of the year, I figured where better a place to start than with the camel coat?

This is another of those subjects where I feel like I have a lot to say (you wouldn't think there'd be that much to say about what is ultimately a beige coat, but you know, there really is!) so please bear with me while I try to format this into something that makes at least some sense.

The Fall 2010 shows were literally bursting at the very seams with neutral shades, with khakis, browns, greys and beiges all neutralling down the runway, proving that a stark, yet classic palette is big news this season. Camel was the neutral of choice for countless designers and, while it wasn't just coats that were seen in a sandy hue, it was the camel coat that became one of the most stand out and talked about garments since sliced bread. (what do you mean sliced bread isn't a garment?!)

Now, this might make me sound a bit stupid but I'm going to say it anyway, how does a trend like this actually come about? What I mean is, how is it that seemingly every designer under the sun decided that Fall 2010 was the season to resurrect the camel coat? Was there a really good deal on camel coloured wool at The Big Trendy Haberdashery? Or did all the designers get together for tapas and discuss it in advance? If they did, I think the conversation went something like this;
Jean Paul Gaultier: "So basically, I've been thinking, you know what colour I've not really used in a while? Camel."

Hussein Chalayan: "Camel? As in the colour of camels?"

JPG: "Exactly. Camel has so many wonderful connotations - and yet it's simple and classic at the same time. It's elegant, like a camel. Aaaah the graceful camel."

Hannah Macgibbon: "You know, I think he's on to something! Let's do it, let's do something a bit different for once...Philip Lim, can you PLEASE stop hogging the garlic mushrooms?"

JPG: "Yes Hannah! Different! Crazy!"

Carolina Herrera: "Well, JPG, I'd hardly call camel a 'crazy' colour, but it would make designing my new fall line a lot easier - I mean, camel goes with everything. Think of the possibilities for coats!"

JPG: "Yes! The camel coat! So graceful, so chic! CRAZY!"

Carolina Herrera: "Er... yeah, ok JPG, think you might have had a little bit too much sangria. But we're all agreed then, camel is the colour for Fall 2010?"

Michael Kors: "Yes, definitely, I mean JPG is a full on nutter, but he's right, the camel coat will be seen as a classic investment piece - everyone will want one!"

Hannah Macgibbon: "Then we'd better get designing! Quick designers! To The Big Trendy Haberdashery! I hear they've got a sale on camel coloured wool! We'll take the Chloémobile! Oh, and Philip Lim? If you get one drop of olive oil on my suede interiors, you're walking..."

The little curly girl - giving you an (entirely accurate) look into the minds of fashion designers since 1972.

Anyway, I understand that there are always trends; whether it's a certain theme, such as "ladylike" or "grunge", or a colour, or even just a specific accessory - if a certain thing crops up on several catwalks in a season, then it's likely to become a trend. And since fashion often recycles old ideas (albeit in new and different ways), it makes sense that if a colour or style of garment hasn't been seen on the runway for a while, then it's only a matter of time before it makes a comeback. That being said, I still find it a little crazy that so many fashion houses seemed to champion the camel coat for this season. It just seems like a quite a big coincidence, I mean there's loads of them! See for yourselves;

3.1 Philip Lim

Aquascutum, Carolina Herrera, Hermès

Hussein Chalayan, Lanvin, MaxMara

Tommy Hilfiger, Chloé, Michael Kors

[images all from]

Of course, fashion being as it is, even though so many designers have 'done' a camel coat, they're all somewhat different (I LOVE the 3.1 Philip Lim one with the black piping and the double breasted 'boyfriend' style one by Hussein Chalayan) and I suppose that's part of the reason why every blogger and fashion journalist this side of Nebula 53X1 (I just made that up. What is a nebula anyway?) has been going crazy about camel coats since the Fall shows back in February. The camel coat is an easy to wear, versatile piece that goes with most things and instantly makes you look classy and chic (well it does to an extent; if you're wearing a pair of Crocs and one of those beer can hats, you can pile on as many camel coats as you want but you'll still look completely ridiculous). It's what I like to call a 'grown up lady coat'.

However, as the epitome of classy, chic, smart, grown up lady fashion, the camel coat is kind of supposed to look expensive. And most things that look expensive are expensive. Now, I've been trawling the Interwebs looking for camel coats, and while there are some high street versions, I worry that they may, in person, look a bit cheap. And I don't think you can get away with a cheap looking camel coat, it's positively paradoxical. So here's a few 'proper' camel coats, for grown up ladies with grown up salaries that can afford grown up coats.

£225, Karen Millen

£119.90, Mango

£225, Reiss

£129, Zara

See? Pricey. Maybe it just depends on how much you're willing to spend on a coat. Currently I've got about £3.64 in the Franki's New Coat fund.

But Franki! You're missing the point! As Michael Kors said in the completely non-fictitious conversation above, the camel coat is an investment piece! It may be expensive but you'll wear it forever and ever!

But I won't, will I? Because this time next year, there'll be another 'must have' coat and the camel coat will be long forgotten. Oh fashion, you are a fickle mistress!

So, in conclusion, the camel coat is lovely, versatile, classy and makes you look and feel like a real, live grown up type. Will it be my coat of choice for this season? Judging by the ones I've found online so far, possibly not. Although, H&M Magazine did recently feature this image;

and while I've not actually seen it instore yet, if the price was as reasonable as most H&M things are, I could be tempted.

The only thing that's still bugging me? What about all the camels? Haven't they suffered enough?*

*camel coats are not made from real camels.


  1. Lauren said...
    Oh thanks Fraki, exactly what I wanted. I plan to combine the trench and camel trends to save money, although I am in love with the Chloe coats and will need something similar. Saw this trench in H&M ads,r:10,s:54&tx=50&ty=59
    (wow that is a big link) and found it in store to discover it has a hood. How ridiculous. But I am warming to it and will probably purchase it soon.
    Also, have a camel coat with black piping a la Phillip Lim that you should check out.

  2. Great post...I love the definitely-not-made-up conversation between fashion designers!

    My faves are the 3.1 Phillip Lim coats and the Karen Millen one...


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