Overcoats Go Pop - The Dirk Bogarde Proposition
The Independent Overcoat
The overcoat, that long and heavy woollen coat with its few classic styles and military variations, was a staple in the British pop music scene of the early 80s. Well, the indie end of pop, at least. Using selective memory and confirmation bias, let's put forward a theory as to why.
The Bogarde Proposition
Firstly, Morrissey wore an overcoat quite a lot, which led to its semi-popularity amongst young people. Morrissey's singing about life in rainy Manchester practically demanded an overcoat (and a raincoat for that matter).
Tweedy's Thought: Now Morrissey sings about Pasolini and Rome, perhaps his adoption of Angelo Galasso shirts makes some kind of sense?
Why the overcoat? A bit of cultural archaeology gives us Exhibit A: Dirk Bogarde. This is a photo of Dirk taken from the film Victim.
Now let's take a look at this photo of Morrissey:
Spot anything? We know that Morrissey is a fan of Dirk Bogarde. Is it too hard to imagine that Bogarde may have had some influence on Morrissey's adoption of the overcoat in the 80s? Or is that I re-watched Victim the other day and was looking for an excuse to tie these photos together? Only you can decide.
I Was Looking for a Coat and Then I Found a Coat
I've been seeking out off-the-peg examples of the overcoat with raglan sleeve, which extend in a single piece to the collar. The brief is full-length overcoats that Motley Crue wouldn't be seen dead in.
I've seen too many short overcoats, lots of over-styled overcoats with zips and pockets in odd places, and overcoats in unpleasant colours. However, Magee of Ireland, established 1886, has one that fits the bill. The Corrib is a full-length raglan overcoat in heavy Donegal tweed. I can almost see Dirk and Morrissey nodding their approval at this one. Let me know if you spot any others.
Indie Pop Overcoats in Action
The Bible (Heringbone Overcoat):
H2O (Dogtooth Overcoat):