Strange as it seems, the street style brigade can be a good source of practical gems. They spend a lot of time hanging about outside waiting to be photographed after all, and the cannier ones know a few tricks about staying warm and dry.
They’ve taken to Kassl, a new rainwear label, with an emotion that looks suspiciously close to passion. It’s not hard to see why. Kassl (or to give it its full name, Kassl Editions ) is another one of those single-item brands that have blossomed in the past eighteen months. Aimed squarely at the cool fashion set, it’s part sexy sou’wester, part Sherman coat.
Unlike Macintosh, those (Japanese owned) purveyors of stylish waterproofs, these coats are made from very shiny coated cotton in Kassel in central Germany, where they’ve been producing functional rain coats for generations, and is being subtly promoted as utility meets chic art-project. Think modern Bardot skipping from museum to gallery on a rainy day in Paris. Colours are bang on trend – bitter chocolate, camel, white, dusty pink, black, silver, or gold – and shapes tend to be oversized and simple. When I tried them, I had to go for the shorter ones – and they still hit my knees.
Brownsfashion.com first launched the label in the UK, with Matchesfashion.com quickly following suit, and Net-a-Porter.com has just launched its first collaboration with them, including some exclusives. This is fashion meets function. I love the glossiness of them, and the window pane checked linings on some of them, but if you’re looking for something a bit lower key, try BRGN. Designed in Norway, these are also completely waterproof (as surely anything that calls itself a raincoat should be, but you’d be surprised), with magnetic fastenings (no leaky buttonholes), shake off breathable fabrics – and hoods. These Norwegians know what they’re doing.
They’re less of a statement than Kassl’s but the idea isn’t so different, namely to be able to wear them from the middle of a field to a party. Not sure what party I’d keep one on for, but you get the drift. These will keep you dry. Rainwear has suddenly become extremely style conscious.