Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Rapha Raeburn wind jacket: things to do with parachutes

Who would have known that parachute silk would make the perfect cycling jacket material? Lightweight, inherently stashable and totally windproof. It makes sense when you think about it.

Something that didn't escape Christopher Raeburn, who is no stranger to parachute silk in creating his garments. This is a man who has built a brand from recycling military-grade clothing and equipment using cutting edge processes and adding a technical twist. Old parachutes have always been a favourite, inspired by a picture of his Gran getting married in a dress made from one in the Second World War. 

The collaboration with Rapha directly stems from Christopher's brother Graeme, who has designed Rapha's products from the outset. The only real surprise, given the obvious compatibility of the two brands and the fact that they are brothers, is that the collaboration has taken this long to come to fruition.

But it is here now, in the form of a capsule collection of three pieces - a pair of jeans, a henley T-shirt and the key item, a city windproof jacket. This is so limited in production that it is individually numbered and is available in only three colours, orange, white and green, dictated by the colours of military issue parachute canopies. Only 600 pieces have been produced: 300 white, 200 green and 100 orange. 

They are handmade in England at Cooper & Stollbrand's factory in Manchester, the manufacturer of the Private White VC brand, and as you would expect from individually numbered pieces (number 13 is stitched on upside down in cycling tradition to avoid bad luck), each one is unique, often bearing the original USAF serial numbers which offer a reference to the material's original purpose. As you would also expect, the jackets are exquisitely made, with industry-leading Swiss Riri zip fastenings, glove-friendly neoprene cuffs and a hood that rolls up neatly and secures behind a Rapha Raeburn branded snap-rivet. 

Mid-ride safety has also been incorporated, with high-viz reflective seam strips which give the rider a Tron-like glow and a reflective polka dot screen print to the sleeves offering a twist on a digital camouflage pattern. 

The one thing the jacket does not purport to be, however, is waterproof, although a quick Google search has uncovered forum posts from people who have successfully waterproofed parachute silk using proofing spray. 

How the Rapha Raeburn rain jacket would stand up to a squirt from Rapha reproofer is as yet undocumented but it would make what is destined to become a classic in cycling jacket design nothing short of perfection. 

It is close to that already.

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Ridley Scott Associates Jaguar F-Type Desire film: unbelievable

OK so it's got Damian Lewis and Shannyn Sossamonand in it, and a drop-dead gorgeous car even if it is red, and it's shot, well, in a cool way.

But this film is still a pile of crap. This is because there's no way some beaten up old Lincoln or whatever that American relic of an automobile is would be able to keep up with a Jag (maybe at one time but they're a little more reliable these days).

And what was that woman doing stashed in an oil tanker?


Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Visvim Foley Folk: sole survivor

These remind me a lot of a pair of Adidas I had once. It's something to do with the soles, which Hiroki has chosen to fashion out of gum brown instead of white. Makes for a different take on the Foley, but we'll have to see if anyone actually likes them.

Santini kit review: Italian dash in Essex

Santini. The very name oozes Italian style. It says panache, it says speed, it conjures images of a little Italian rider named Pepe, or maybe Francesco, dancing his way up a dolomite on a vintage Colnago or Pinarello.

And since Santini was founded back in 1965, it would be fair to say that plenty of little Italian riders, maybe not necessarily named Pepe, have indeed conquered mountains wearing Santini.

This is a brand with a heritage which others would give their eye teeth for. Santini jerseys were on the back of Bernard Hinault when he became world champion in 1980, Marco Pantani when he won the Giro in 1998 and Cadel Evans when he took the world championship in 2009. And we haven’t even scratched the surface. 

Santini is such an integral part of cycling that it has been a partner of the Giro d’Italia since 1993 and has been the official supplier and sponsor of cycling clothing to the UCI since 1994. 

It’s surprising the brand hasn’t made more use of these facts, worn them on their sleeve, so to speak. But rather than shout it from the rooftops, Santini has taken the rather more refined, Italian approach and let the clothing and its pedigree speak for itself.

All this history mattered not one jot to me on a minus-one degree morning at the beginning of April. All I could think was that this time last year we were basking in a heatwave.

By some miracle, given the time of year and the promotion of the new spring-summer collections, the kit was sent autumn-winter kit to review - a fact that did not escape me as I sailed past the frosted car roofs at the beginning of a four-hour ride. I will be forever thankful. 

My outfit consisted of a fleece-lined long sleeved jersey in bright blue, a windproof gilet, fleece-lined bib shorts, a Polartec beanie, oversocks and socks. I wore the lot, as well as a long-sleeved base layer and an additional pair of thick wool socks. I was that cold. 

And as I coasted out I remember thinking that it obviously doesn’t get as cold in Italy as it does here. There was a bit of cold penetration through the beanie and the three-quarter length bibs would have left me with frozen shins if it wasn’t for the wool socks. But I wasn’t as cold as I thought I would be, especially seeing as I was only wearing a gilet to keep the wind out.

The thing with cycling is that it doesn’t take very long to get warmed up. The first ten minutes are going to be teeth clenching even with an arctic parka on when you’re doing 20-odd mph in the open air. It’s the bit after that which sets decent gear apart from the rest. You need to reach a temperature and maintain it. If you get too warm you need to start de-layering and then you’re looking for places to stash the unwanted kit, unless you happen to have a team car trailing you. Then you stop for a couple of minutes and the layers go back on. It can be a nightmare.

Santini, as you might expect, utilises wicking fabrics and other similar features to make sure your discomfort is restricted to the lactic in your legs and does not extend to your gear. The fleece lining of the jersey was as cosy as it was comfy, and even at three-quarter length, the bib shorts also offered a decent degree of snugness, especially where it mattered the most. The padding was also mercifully generous.

But as we all know, comfort might be an overriding factor, but style and looks play an increasingly important role when choosing cycing kit, particularly when it has the kind of fit of your average Spiderman outfit. There were no worries there. Santini is as Italian in style as it is in name. The jersey was reassuringly fitted, and the bib shorts were cut for riding, so there was no material dangling like a sack in front of me. A chin guard would have been good on the jersey's zipper and maybe one or two additional valuables pockets would have been handy, but overall it felt good. I felt like I should be doing a dolomite rather than tackling the Essex lanes. 

I guess there are some things even heritage can’t recreate. 

Windproof gilet

Bib shorts, jersey, gilet

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Golden Bear varsity jacket: throwback

With its laid-back undertones which evoke feelings of college ball games even if you never went to college in the US, the varsity jacket has become a perennial favourite. The various styles and interpretations are legion bit this has to be one of the better offerings out there, and at a decent price too. Find it here

Friday, 19 April 2013

Girls Friday: Stussy SS13 collection modelled by Adrianne Ho

A bit late with this, but needs recording ...

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Elysium with Matt Damon trailer: paradise lost

This looks good, although you'd be a bit pissed off if you lived on Elysium.

Friday, 12 April 2013

Nike Flyknit racer and HTM Europe limited edition: rare

If you're wandering around Shoreditch with a sleeping bag tonight, as many of you most likely will be, you might want to join the line outside 1948 London (the Nike store which sells the rare stuff) for the release of the new Flyknit Racer and HTM Flyknit Trainer+. 

The store reckons there will be about 20 of these available in all sizes when they are released tomorrow (Saturday), so it's going to be up to you to decide whether they are just trying to put people off waiting or if they are actually telling the truth. 

Of course you might think they are as close to vomit inducing as a pair of trainers could get. In which case you'll be fine. And, more than likely, dry.

Girls Friday: Denise for The Hundreds

Hard to work out exactly what part of The Hundreds collection Denise is modelling. My guess is the kicks.

Girls Friday: Elsa Hosk by Therese & Joel

Acronym SS13: armed and ready

Acronym produces highly technical apparel with clear military influences using some of the most advance fabrics known to man. The stuff is pretty much the same from season to season with maybe the odd tweak here and there and the introduction of a few new designs. But essentially it doesn't date, which is a good thing when you get to find out the price tag.

It has been labelled urban armour and it's easy to see why. It's also easy to see where the company is based and produces the majority of its goods - it is German in style and construction. It could be nothing else. It is also reliably rugged, which is handy.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Beyonce Mirrors Pepsi ad: well it is Friday

Here's Beyonce jiggling about in a kind of mirror timewarp reflection of a career in dance moves for Pepsi. And there's a moral to the story! Live for now! Truly a gift.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Uniform Experiment x Carhartt SS 2013 capsule: Good luck tracking it down

Uniform Experiment has been collaborating with Cahartt for three seasons now and I haven't seen a single item in person. Then again I only remember seeing one Carhartt x APC t-shirt ever.

The benefits of these collaborations are obvious and this collection looks like a prime candidate for tracking down, although if the only option it Tokyo, they can, quite frankly, keep them.