Because you can't have depths without surfaces.
Linda Grant, thinking about clothes, books and other matters.

Wednesday, 24 September 2008

Wrapping up warm

Reguluar readers will recollect that in August I bought an Armani coat. My thinking at the time was that either a) I would get shortlisted for the Booker which comes with a guaranteed £2,500 or b) I would not get shortlisted for the Booker and the coat would be my consoloation. Either way, the universe would provide. And it did. US rights have just been sold and I'll have more information about that in the next day or two.

The day of Princess Diana's funeral I bought a MaxMara coat which I wore to death. Unless you live in LA, a really good winter coat is probably the best wardrobe investment because you'll wear it every day. I see now that this has become a trend in credit crunch chic:

And what better investment to make than a winter coat? If you like to justify your purchases on a pounds-to-number-of-times-worn ratio, a quality coat is as good as gold, especially as it's the item most people will see you in from October to March. As my otherwise fearsomely frugal grandmother - a Great Depression survivor - used to say: "Always spend money on a good mattress, shoes and coat."

According to Bridget Cosgrave, buying director of the Matches boutiques, we're paying heed to such advice. Coats from timeless brands such as Maxmara, and classics with a statement-making twist, like Burberry Prorsum's Prussian-blue cashmere trench (£1,750;, are already the season's big sellers. "People are investing in pieces that are luxurious, but that you can get lots of wear from - old classics that have been updated with fresh detailing and on-trend fits," she says. "You can't go wrong with a belted trench or a pea coat with military detailing."

Ah yes, the classic pea coat is emerging as the style of the season at every end of the price spectrum - from Alexander McQueen to Topshop. But with the trend for "slower" fashion and the (re)emergence of those high-end chains that were unmoved by the recent cheap-chic trend - including Jigsaw, Jaeger and Reiss - it's no surprise that the fashion editors' favourite pea coat is from Whistles. "Our cropped pea coat is our fastest-selling coat ever," says Whistles spokeswoman Fleur Askey.


phyllis said...

US rights? And - keep my fingers crossed - maybe even a book tour? Oh I'm doing the happy dance....CONGRATULATIONS Linda!

Toby Wollin said...

OK, everyone...think this same thought: "US Book Tour...US Book Tour".

Deja Pseu said...

Congrats on the US rights! Next stop...Oprah? US book tour, yeah!

As one of those LA dwellers, I can only look at the great selection of winter coats out there this year with longing. A week skiing in Vail and maybe a few cold mornings in Jan/Feb don't justify the expense.

lagatta à montréal said...

Yes, I guess L.A. is warmer in the winter than Mexico City, as the latter is at a higher altitude - or is it just because Mexico is dressier? My friends from Mexico City have old pics of their mums in very elegant postwar coats, though I imagine that the woollen fabric wasn't very heavy. They didn't have to worry about boots!

One could be the infamous Michelle Duvalier - then wife of Baby Doc - and turn up the air conditioning in the dictators' mansion to wear her fur coats in the poorest country in America... but then again not.

Needless to say, up here a decent winter coat is absolutely essential - if anything the problem is that some terribly bitter days are too cold for anything smart (though not if you are taking the métro to work). This is a major annoyance for les Montréalaises, who want to be chic!

Linda's beautiful coat should be fine in November in Toronto, or even throughout the winter there as it rarely gets so bitterly cold in southern Ontario.

I do hope that Canadian readers don't get stuck with the US version. Managed to avoid that for the Harry Potter series, at least.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Yeah, well, we have air conditioning too, if one wants to wear one's furs in comfort.

Wait, what furs we are about here?

Vicki said...

I'm all excalamation marks. Wow, congratulations yet again! How exciting! How perfect to have that coat! Enjoy it and wear it in good health.

Duchesse said...

First, splendid news on the sale of your book rights! Chapeau!

A client hired me for a big assignment, then reneged. So furious I bought a Max Mara coat and wore it like Superwoman's bracelets as I replaced that work, and more.

But thrilled too about a stunning Ferre coat I bought in a resale store, never worn, $135.

Lagatta, les Montréalaises have Mackage, non?

miss cavendish said...

So much to consider here! First, many congratulations on the forthcoming US rights. And a book tour would be marvelous!

As for the philosophy on coats: I couldn't agree more. I will always find a way to purchase a coat or jacket that's just right. Outerwear makes me feel "dressed."

Anonymous said...

Please come to Seattle on your book tour!

Anonymous said...

How will a US edition differ? Will they make you edit content?? I'm assuming the use of American spellings and vocabulary, but is there more.

I just finished reading The Cast Iron Shore and found the narrative for parts set in US somewhat surreal in British English. I'm curious if you contemplated shifting the narrative voice to an American one?

Linda Grant said...

It's generally the editors of the foreign editions who decide whether to alter the spelling from British to US English. Vocabulary is a different matter. There has never been a US edition of The Cast Iron Shore so I can't say, but remember, the narrator is British, not American.

Anonymous said...

Linda, Thanks for your response. I understand the protagonist is more or less British. Perhaps I missed something as it was not obvious to me that 100% of the narration was coming from this character (in my defense I read the book while ill). I was referring to the descriptive narration material, was that really all first person singular and nothing in third person? I guess the style is rather biographical but yet it's a novel so perhaps some ambiguity. I will look at it again before returning the book to my library.

Linda Grant said...

Yes, it's all first person singular.