SO three sabotaged blow-dries, a dozen sodden cardi-coats and one metaphorical upturned umbrella later… and there it is, Oxford is officially entering the race to win wettest winter on record. When battling the capricious elements of old Blighty, even the most savvy and nuanced dressers will face problematic encounters. Oh the joys of non-water repellent textiles and endless style conundrums. But isn’t looking great come rain or shine, the ultimate sophistication? I refer back to the words once seen emblazoned upon a gaudy, plastic rain poncho, “looking sexy, keeping dry”. In spite of its outrageous irony, these sentiments form an undeniably wise adage in the way of wet-weather dressing.
Of the moment brands such as Norwegian Rain are providing us with an essential masterclass in dressing for the elements. And with more rainy weather predicted, we’re taking notes. Head design-duo from Bergen, T-Michael and Alexander Helle, explain how their creations are “simply a solution to our life in rain” with each garment adhering to their founding ethos. “The philosophy is simple” they confess, “hard core functional and waterproof outerwear that does not compromise on stylistic preferences. The hi-tech is hidden”. Now keeping dry will never mean compromising in the style stakes. Together we wind-battered folk of European cities salute you! Describing their conceptual approach, T-Michael affirms how they “endeavor to look back into the past to find our inspiration from traditional tailoring techniques, then combine that with groundbreaking fabric technology to create fashion forward and stylistic rainwear with a Japanese-like aesthetic.” In juxtaposing a highly structural silhouette with utilitarian elements, the result is something truly modern. Norwegian Rain was pre-launched in autumn 2009, immediately gaining the attention of fashion editors for its tailored take on high-performance outerwear, but only just launched in the UK earlier this year. With a highly anticipated Harvey Nichols POP-UP store under their belts and numerous collaborations in the works, we’ll sure be seeing their faces around, whatever the weather.
Until now the futuristic, sharp cuts of Wanda Nylon’s coveted Macs were surely fashion’s best kept secret? Like Norwegian Rain, the Parisian fashion label exhibits an ecological conscience when developing their unique, high-tech fabrics. While being composed of an impressive 90% recycled materials, each polyurethane raincoat is transparent CHECK and water resistant CHECK allowing your outfit to shine through the downpour. The rather prophetically named collections, Monsoon AW’13 and Typhoon SS’14, boasted an array of functional yet design-led items- think biker jackets, parkas and trenches- all set for some serious puddle splashing. For Johanna Senyk, one half of Wanda Nylon, navigating inclement weather is a way of life. “I’ve ridden a scooter every day since I was sixteen and could never find chic protective clothing” she reminisces. So along with partner Peter Hornstein, plus their shared penchant for the tactility and smell of children’s plastic folders, the brand was born. After recently gaining Vogue’s seal of approval, Elle’s November issue showcased their signature plastic Mac and vinyl trousers for a timely feature entitled “Luxe Waterproofs”, declaring “Best thing about wet weather? You don’t just want these items. You NEED them”.
Yet when battling multiple climatic woes- I’m talking blusteringly cold wind with a sprinkle of precipitation here and there (for good measure)- there’s only one brand you’ll want by your side. For the added warmth of the finest Italian goose down, Duvectica’s urban reworking of the classic quilted ski-jacket remains a cold weather essential. With their latest collection featuring a palette of dusky shades to complement the watercolour hues dominating the AW catwalks, it’s a natural fit to any new season wardrobe.
Published Online at OxfordFashionSociety.com