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Monday, September 28, 2009

Women On the Verge of a Technical Breakthrough

When it comes to women's coats, far too many designers fail to balance form and function. Some produce things that are beautiful, but flimsy and useless; others make clothes that may very well be warm, but are also ugly and bulky. Fortunately, companies like Loro Piana understand the art of compromise. Thanks to their innovative work with leather and textiles–plus a team of thoughtful designers–half the world's population doesn't have to choose between looking like tweedy marshmallows or elegantly freezing to death.

This Eiger jacket is a good example. It's made of sleek, water-resistant leather (with suede details); lined in cashmere-wool flannel (with knit cashmere at the neck and cuffs); and boasts strategically-placed pockets of lightweight down for perfect insulation. Just as importantly, it's cut to flatter a woman's shape, with small shoulders, a trim, adjustable waist and a softly-draped skirt (the part below its waistline). Admittedly, a Loro Piana coat doesn't make as strong a fashion statement as something from, say, Balenciaga; but its jaunty silhouette would look equally smart on a tall, denim-clad 24-year-old girl dashing around Manhattan or a spry older woman running village errands (and will continue to do so for years to come). The fluffy fox collar detaches, and suggests a trapper hat as an appropriate accessory; add a bright scarf and you're ready to brave the elements. It's almost exciting enough to make one look forward to winter.