A fruitful trip to Strand Book Store has yielded another great find in the way of Fashionable books. Next from the Fashion Library comes THE COAT ROUTE CRAFT, LUXURY, & OBSESSION ON THE TRAIL OF A $50,000 COAT BY MEG LUKENS NOONAN. The book is the story of a journalist who travels the world to decipher the origins of a custom made overcoat. Along the way, she essentially meets every person who had a hand in creating what should be considered a piece of art. Her journey even finds her in a remote village in Peru to observe the shearing of vicuna, a distant relative of the camel. The animals live high in the Andes and produce fleece that is finer than cashmere and subsequently much more expensive.
As Noonan weaves an account full of interesting historical tidbits she poses the question "In today's world of fast Fashion, is there a place for a handcrafted $50,000 coat?" As we learn, the answer is yes. I followed the author as she traced the several steps it takes to create such garb from the outer fabric to the silk lining to the golden hand engraved name plaque that hangs inside. One part I found unusually riveting was a chapter about buttons and how buttonholes essentially changed everything. As Fashion obsessed as I am, I realized I had never really thought about their origins. How could I have let something so necessary go overlooked?
THE COAT ROUTE is an excellent well written read encompassing a bit of history, the business of fashion, and the stories of true artisans. It is a highly recommended addition to any collection.
PHOTOS BY ADC