A bastion of British style since 1851
When John Emary, a Mayfair tailor with a shop in Piccadilly patented a new shower-proof textile in 1853, he set the Aquascutum brand on its course as purveyors of fine stylish, weather-resistant and comfortable clothes worn for country pursuits and leisure. Indeed, he changed the name of his company to Aquascutum to reflect his innovation: ‘Aqua’ (water) and ‘Scutum’ (shield).
And testament to his success is that, before the century was out, the company had gained its first Royal Warrant from King Edward VII, and in 1903, after the introduction of showerproof fashionable coats for women, a second Royal Warrant from the Prince of Wales who, as King George V, granted his warrant again in 1911. Royal Warrants did not stop there, with one from the Prince of Wales, later Duke of Windsor I, in 1920 and, in 1947, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth granted Aquascutum her Royal Warrant. When her daughter Queen Elizabeth II succeeded to the throne in 1952, as Queen Mother, she granted her warrant again.
But Aquascutum did not just serve the royals. It also served the country during two world wars. In 1914, the belted and double-breasted ‘trench coat’ was created for military use during the First World War and, after the war, it became an integral part of the respectable gentleman’s – and woman’s – wardrobe and an icon of British style. The Aquascutum trench coat was again used by the military in the Second World War and, afterwards, the classic military Aquascutum raincoat went on to become an essential for Hollywood stars such as Humphrey Bogart and Cary Grant.
Always innovative, Aquascutum’s research resulted in many historical and creative ‘firsts’ during the 1950s, including the exclusive (wind and waterproof) Wyncol D711, worn by those conquering Mount Everest; the shorter raincoat; the ‘Oscar’ winning showerproof Evening Coat; Antartex that explored the South Pole and Aqua 5, the exclusive process of impregnating cotton for rainwear, eliminating the need for re-proofing.
The brand has never lost its relevance, keeping up with each decade’s demands in its own inimitable way. In the late 1960s Club 92 was launched offering clothes for men who were ‘as young as they felt’. The look symbolised a return to fashion consciousness, offering style while retaining the simplicity of the traditional British look. 1976 saw the brand celebrate its 125th birthday with a special feature in Vogue and, in 1987, when then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher paid a historic visit to the USSR, her wardrobe was supplied by Aquascutum. In the mid-1990s, the company expanded into tailor-made luxury corporate gifts and 2003 saw it open its first flagship store in Tokyo as the brand became ever more successful in Asia.
Taking to the catwalk in 2005 at London Fashion Week, Aquascutum confirmed its standing not just as a brand for classic tradition, but one that set trends and looks forward too. This was followed by the debut menswear show at London Collections Men in 2012. The triumphant return to the West End with the opening of the Great Marlborough Street store opposite Liberty of London in 2013 was followed by a new store on Jermyn Street a year later. E-commerce has followed as has the refurbishment of its store at Westfield.
With 165 years of history, Aquascutum has explored the DNA of the historic brand by reinterpreting iconic fabrications and styles from its archives for today’s customer, adding eight new women’s trench coat styles to its collection and two new styles for men in 2016. Because the brand now, as always, prides itself on lending its innovative and practical fabrics to cutting-edge modern designs.
AQUASCUTUM 24 GREAT MARLBOROUGH STREET, LONDON W1F 7JL +44 (0)20 3096 1864