The following event is real.
It was a foggy morning. Soupy, white haze filled the air. The mist was cold, drizzly and grey. Empty streets slowly creaked to life. Waiting for breakfast caffeine at the local café I noticed a young woman through the steamed up window. She grabbed all of my attention. Dark brown hair thrown into a ponytail, cheeks flushed pink and bright eyes scanning the road ahead. She wasn’t particularly beautiful and yet in this moment, on this morning, she was breathtaking. A splash of colour against a backdrop of grey.
My heroine was wearing a cream, double-breasted trench coat and clutching a daffodil yellow umbrella. I could feel her anxiousness in waves through the glass. Was she waiting for someone? A bus slowly rumbled into view. The doors swung open and a man wearing a dark suit, black fedora (I'm not kidding) and holding a single daisy appeared in the frame.
She smiled. He smiled. I smiled.
He ran to her, she ran to him, I tried not to run to them both.
Then they kissed. Hollywood style. Right in the middle of the street. Oblivious to everyone. Lost in each other. Then … it started to rain.
Cue tears. Roll credits.
Driving home it occurred to me that if it weren't for her sharp trench coat I may have missed this magic moment. They're one of fashions most enduring symbols of elegance and style - they grab attention. If, like me, she’d been dressed in tracksuit pants, ugg boots and a beanie it wouldn’t have been the same. It wouldn't have looked like a movie. This got me thinking about just how many of the world's great cinematic moments star the trench coat. The humble beige raincoat is the un-billed star of many classic films.
So, because it was raining and because it’s a hobby, I dedicated much of Sunday to making a Nick Hornby style list – here's my All Time, Top Five, Desert Island, Most Romantic Moments In Trench Coats.
1. Audrey Hepburn and George Peppard, Breakfast At Tiffany's
The final scenes of this classic film see lead characters Holly Golightly and Paul Varjak hurtling across New York city in the back of a yellow cab. Holly is unraveling, Paul declares his love, they fight, they lose the cat and then they kiss in the rain. In trench coats. It’s so iconic it's almost cliche.
So many great romantic moments happen in beige raincoats
2. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman, Casablanca.
The loner hero in the immaculate trench coat. A breath-taking Bergman. Jealousy. Passion. A love gone wrong. Bogart's trench has become one of the most enduring fashion images in cinema. Full stop.
3. John Cusack, Say Anything.
Growing up this movie was a favourite. Lloyd Dobler (Cusack) melted teen hearts around the globe as he declared his love for girlfriend Diane by standing outside her house holding a boom box (playing Peter Gabriel) high above his head wearing ... a trench coat. The picture above is one of most downloaded wall papers on Google.
4. Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman, Paris Blues.
They were in love off screen. The movie is forgettable but their double trench moment is not. If happiness were a poster it would feature them like this - for always.
5. Meryl Streep, Kramer vs Kramer
Nothing is greater than love for a child. My heart always falls out of my chest when I watch the park scene in Kramer vs Kramer. Meryl Streep in the Burberry trench coat, in the park ... lost.
Clothes are not supposed to steal the scene in a film, or in life, but when it comes to trench coats I think they might. Perhaps it’s because they personify glamour at it’s most real. Most grounded. Or maybe it’s because all that beige soaks up love like a sponge?