Ready To Wear: Dressing for a deluge looks so much easier on the catwalk

 

Susannah Frankel
Monday 24 January 2011 01:00
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Some trends are more irritating than inspiring.

Take rain, for example: showering the Burberry Prorsum catwalk in Milan last week (pictured, right), it looked almost romantic. Don't let the new found fashionability of a passing shower lull you into a false sense of security, however. Dressing in a deluge is neither as easy nor as aesthetically pleasing as it seemed here, styled by some of the world's leading image-makers and with a wardrobe designed by Christopher Bailey.

In fact, this is not the first time rain has flooded this particular arena – and not in an Australian national emergency kind of way. In London for his spring/summer 1998 collection, Alexander McQueen famously transformed a raised Plexiglas runway into what was basically the most beautiful wet T-shirt competition in history, complete with thunderclaps and a throbbing Missy Elliott soundtrack, "I can't stand the rain!" And don't you just know how she feels. A year and a half later, the Japanese designer Junya Watanabe also dreamt up an indoor downpour, all the better to show off candy-coloured and decidedly winsome designs that were cut from fabric designed by Japanese specialist Toray to withstand extreme weather conditions.

Back down to earth, and inevitably rain presents a challenge to those who care more about how they look than staying dry (that'll be anyone reading this, then).

Some things are true: a designer umbrella is never advisable. Instead, know that this is a particularly crass marketing ploy on the part of a corporate power to persuade those with more money than good sense to invest in something that a) wasn't very nice in the first place and b) they are destined to lose. Umbrellas should be black and portable and the weird sheaths that accompany them should simply be thrown away. Wellies (black) should come courtesy of Hunter, while Mackintosh (with a spanking new London store) is a purveyor of entirely respectable rainwear. Meanwhile the Burberry trench coat – generally best worn cut narrow across the shoulders and chest – is a fashion institution for a reason.

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