Norwegian Wool down-lined cashmere coat, $1,995 at Saks Fifth AvenueMarshall Troy
As a sharp-suited commodities trader at a Midtown hedge fund, Michael Berkowitz was trained to assess risk. And every winter, he evaluated his lose-lose outerwear position: He could freeze in a best-practice wool overcoat or bask in the warmth of a career-killing down parka. He chose to shiver.
“In that kind of environment, if you walk into a room to meet with clients and you look a little bit less professional in a big, bulky jacket with fur around the hood, people will take you less seriously even before you open your mouth,” Berkowitz tells Alexa. “For the most part, 70 or 80 percent of the guys were toughing it out with the wool coats.”
After suffering through one too many polar vortexes, he had a lightbulb moment: Why not develop a handsome coat-puffer hybrid? So in 2014, he launched Norwegian Wool, a collection of down-lined cloth coats that combine Italian tailoring, Scandinavian-style insulation and American ingenuity. The following spring, he left his job in finance to focus on fashion.
The brand’s signature wool or cashmere “Classic” model is backed with a wind- and waterproof membrane and features 90 percent high-loft white down and 10 percent feather fill, extra-deep fleece-lined hand pockets, and a stand-up collar. “The arms are lined as well but there’s no ribbing around the wrists, so you can comfortably wear it over a suit jacket and not have it bunch up,” says Berkowitz, a 30-year-old Manhattanite.
His latest introduction is the “City Active” parka, which comes with a patent-pending removable down hood that splits in half for storage inside the garment. Another popular option is the “Carcoat,” favored by World Series champ Carlos Beltran. All coats are rated for subzero temperatures.
Of course, Norwegian Wool isn’t the only innovator in the category. “In this new age of men’s fashion, designers are embracing design and functionality,” says Roopal Patel, senior vice president and fashion director at Saks Fifth Avenue, which sells a number of thermal topcoats. “Today, men want choices, and as a result, designers are creating outerwear options to suit all types of lifestyles. In years past, designers focused on functionality, incorporating detachable linings and quilting for versatility. Now, it’s all about grab and go, and making your coat work for you.”
Alpine specialist Moncler makes several Wall Street-worthy coats, including the “Tierce,” a cashmere and wool number with a removable hooded down liner that can be worn separately. Sealup and Sanyo both market water-repellent wool-and-down variations on the theme. Italian cashmere kings take windchill luxury to a whole new level: Brunello Cucinelli’s cashmere coat opens to shearling while many of Loro Piana’s “Storm System” coats are faced in Castorino fur or mink.
With all these toasty, polished options, it might be time to execute an order.
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Source: NY Post Fashion Feed