Let it rain


We're never far from a shower or two in Ireland, but you don't have to compromise on style to keep dry, writes DEIRDRE MCQUILLAN

There’s nothing like cold, wet windy rain on soggy city streets to test a woman’s fashion credentials and stamina in challenging weather. The gritty original Burberry hauled out of the trenches into style stardom launched an avalanche of copies and the trench coat is now a sartorial cliché, still stylish and far removed from its original destination. Its colour goes with everything and is flattering on pale Irish skins and, short or long, remains a wardrobe staple. Burberrys are expensive, but Marks Spencers always have a variety of affordable alternatives on offer in short or longer lengths.

Rainwear isn’t usually included in many collections which is surprising given how much we need it, but some designers come up with interesting ideas.

Rains Raincoats, for instance, from Denmark, is known for great festival raingear and accessories while award-winning Norwegian Rain from Bergen, “the rainiest city in Europe”, do handsome unisex, three-layered garments that are waterproof, windproof and breathable, though expensive. Their philosophy is “extreme hi-tech meets men’s tailoring and Japanese sensibility”.

Elsewhere, the Dutch duo behind the cheerful Happy Rainy Days label making its debut in Ireland this month put a bit of fun and graphic brio into their rainwear which is colourful and practical. Their long raincoats have taped seams, zipped pockets and a front panel deliberately designed to keep legs dry. Made in coated nylon, the coats are breathable and have cotton lining, though sleeves are lined with nylon, a practical touch. Elsewhere Moschino’s floral trench is another upbeat cover-up on a dismal day while Boden ( boden.co.uk) do some really zany striped, polka dot and print numbers.

At home, Georgia in Dublin continues to provide stylish rainwear for cyclists like the rainwrap skirt (€55), a wraparound waterproof skirt which doubles as a picnic blanket. Her latest more tailored jacket called the Hustle and Bustle is designed to be worn to work, to the cinema, whatever the weather. It has reflective detail on the shoulders, cuffs and lower back, is lined and comes with a removable storm waistcoat which can be worn separately.

It was in 1891 that the first macs were made in Ireland and today Francis Campelli heads Mackintosh Rainwear Limited where he has been making rainwear for 30 years. His macs are made in double-textured cotton that can be dry-cleaned or hand-washed and he has 20 styles for women at prices from €369-€420 in 12 colours. Best-selling items are semi-fitted, belted short coats in red or putty and it’s a measure of his successful export business that he even sells rainwear to India and Africa. He recently moved premises to 46 South William Street, near Peter’s Pub, and business has thrived at home since ( franciscampelli.com).

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