It's been 20 years since Neo first wore a long leather trench coat in The Matrix, but the garment is now more popular than ever. The Wachowskis' sci-fi masterpiece has been a touchstone for the fashion industry ever since its March 1999 release (so much so that I once had a writing job where staff was banned from referencing the thing at all), and it's become especially relevant over the past few years, when fashion and culture at large developed a hard-on for the '90s that just won't go down.
Leather coats took a little longer to catch on than other Matrix standbys (small sunglasses). But catch on they have. I'm kind of disappointed. A few months ago, I bought myself a 2002 Céline leather coat (the Michael Kors era) that I purchased because fashion writer Emilia Petrarca described that particular iteration of the brand as "so Sopranos." It is a very special coat. Someone in Los Angeles contemptuously called me "Neo" for wearing it, and in response I got to hiss "Honey, this is Céline." It felt so great! But everybody is Neo these days except for Keanu Reeves, who is now John Wick.
Bella Hadid, tiny sunglasses pioneer, sported a particularly nice leather coat last night in Paris. She wore fall 2019 Alyx with a headband and a voluminous blowout, an ideal late '90s look.
And Bella's contemporaries have been sporting them all over the globe. Kendall Jenner wore two versions in Milan: one double-breasted black leather trench (vintage?) when stepping off an airplane, and one in a nice toasted vanilla. Girlfriend of Jackson Maine Irina Shayk wore a classy fawn-colored version to the Tod's presentation. Hailey Baldwin (Bieber) was spotted in a gorgeous Balenciaga sculpted leather coat in Paris, and I have never, ever been more jealous of Hailey Baldwin.
I guess it's time to get a Neo coat. Please don't copy mine!
Photos courtesy of Getty / Runway photos courtesy of Imaxtree