Trench coats, tradition and the new Bogart

Aquascutum's latest trench takes the actor's sartorial stalwart as its starting point, explains his son Stephen. Well, if the coat fits…

By the time my father caught his big break as a leading man, he was already an experienced stage and film actor. And, since he wasn't classically handsome, people related to him in a different way than to some of the matinee-idol types. But the reason I think my father's legacy has lasted is twofold. Firstly, he was a great man off-screen – honest-spoken, well read and socially engaged. Secondly, he played the kind of cynical, world-weary characters that people still find appealing today.

He had a reputation for playing tough guys in the beginning of his career. After High Sierra, the roles were much more varied, more brooding than tough. But he was acting; that's what actors do; they are different on-screen than they are off – if they're any good, that is.

My father could be tough verbally. He always stood up for truth and justice. However, he certainly wasn't violent or physically imposing. He had a great quote about his perceived toughness: "Physically, I am not tough. I may think tough. I would say I'm kinda tough and calloused inside. I could use a foot more in height and 50 more pounds and 15 years off my age, and then God help all you bastards."

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In my father's day, the male actors wore their own clothes on screen; he wore the same suits and trench coats that he wore in his daily life. This meant he was free to wear his own clothes in Casablanca. Warner Bros Studio even confirmed at the time that he was the only actor who didn't cause headaches for the wardrobe department.

The trench coat became his signature garment. I'm not sure why he liked it so much, but the most obvious explanation is he knew he looked good in it. He wore his Aquascutum trench in his movies, and my mother mentioned several times that he had always loved the brand. He often spent time in England, both for filming and passing through on his way to France, Italy and Africa. He certainly appreciated the country and its heritage. He even attended the 1953 coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. It was raining, and my mother was wearing Bogie's trench coat.

My father proudly endorsed several favourite products while he was alive, so I think he'd be honoured that Aquascutum wanted to partner with us. Authenticity is the key prerequisite of any partnership that we enter into at the Humphrey Bogart Estate. And in that sense, it doesn't get any better than Aquascutum. My father was a loyal customer, and I think he'd get a real kick out of the fact that he is still thought of as a trench-coat icon in 2016.

STEPHEN BOGART is a writer and producer, and is the son of silver-screen icons Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. The Bogart, a trench coat inspired by the actor, is available now;

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