When it comes to vintage English design—and by vintage here we mean characterized by excellence, maturity, and enduring appeal—you can’t get any more archetypal then heritage brand Aquascutum. Kristin Knox takes a look at a very British label and yesterday’s AW09 collection.

Back in 1853, when John Emary, experienced tailor, entrepreneur and eventually the father of the modern mack first opened a menswear shop at 46 Regent Street, little did he know that his brand would later become one of the corner stones of the English textile and fashion tradition. And had he not, two years later, patented the world’s first waterproof wool, Aquascutum (Latin for watershed) and drizzle-deflecting duds as we know them, may never have been.

The brand then went on to look after all walks of English life, moving their shop to 100 Regent Street (still their flagship today) to cater to the Englishman about town, making coats for the military and finally King Edward VII. Ed was so pleased with his check-lined trench that the rest of the regal bunch soon took the style cue from their monarch, and in 1897 Aquascutum was granted a royal warrant.

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