There aren’t many articles of clothing that could unite Kim Kardashian, Julia Roberts and Celine Dion. But then, Max Mara’s Teddy Bear coat isn’t your average. Kim K wore hers in 2013—the very same year it was reissued from the house’s ’80s archive—with opaque tights and point-toe pumps. Roberts followed suit five years later, buttoning up her cream version so that, presumably, it felt a little bit like a wearable cuddle. Dion, meanwhile, went lo-fi with jeans, relying on her outerwear’s larger-than-life personality.
As each woman proved in her own way, it’s a coat that’s always managed to be glamorous yet pared-back, grown-up yet playful. Is this why it has stood the test of time to arrive at its 10th birthday with a coterie of very cosy fans? The sales figures would say yes.
According to The New York Times, it clocked up US$50 million in revenue in the first six years of its release, while Teddys on resale platforms can still fetch a tidy sum despite being second-hand, meaning their value doesn’t depreciate. This may be something to do with the fact that it’s the ultimate multitasker. You can wear it with a polo neck and puffer boots or a slip dress and slingbacks. On the catwalk, it appears season after season, draped over cable-knit sweater dresses or louche wool tailoring. Even trench coats don’t have quite the same cut-through.
So to celebrate a decade as an official outerwear icon, Max Mara has designed a very special Teddy. Not only will it be adding a hint of sparkle to its camel and white versions, but it will also be introducing a Mini Teddy Coat, as well as mittens, ear muffs, bobble hats and beanies.
The other thing about Teddy? It’s ageless, with vital stats that are an alchemic blend of cute, chic and cool. It’s quite literally what a 20-something would want to steal from their grandmother’s wardrobe, although she probably wouldn’t let them. Which is probably why the high street does several good imitations, though do buy as good a quality as you can afford for longevity.
Caroline Issa, Tank magazine’s fashion director, likes to wear hers with the collar popped so that it’s doubly snug with her polo neck. “The Teddy is like wrapping yourself up in the cosiest nubbly blanket and knowing that the minute you step outside you are both toasty and chic, which is by no means easy,” she says. If you’ve never tried one on, Issa adds that it’s not as heavy as you might think. “The joy of finding a very warm but lightweight coat that reminds you of your best childhood toy is an added bonus.”
Is it perfect? That depends on your definition of the word. But if you’re lucky enough to own a Teddy Bear coat, we’d hazard a guess you’ll still be wearing it in 2033.