Bianchista visited Rapha HQ at Perren Street to take a peek at the new products offered in their new a capsule women’s range to be launched officially in March.
Below is bianchista’s summary of first impressions of the items. Rapha's Laura Etherington was also kind enough to sit down and answer some questions regarding the range and the company’s future plans for womenswear, and this interview will be published tomorrow.
First up, Rapha have refined the supremely popular Stowaway jacket in a female specific guise. Offered in two eye-catching colours - a rich vibrant red and a translucent cream. The Stowaway is a functional three seasons
The main design of the jacket borrows heavily from the successful men’s version, with a few tweaks to offer a premium shell for the discerning female rider.
The reflective detailing on the jacket remains the same, yielding confidence in its visibility once the sun starts to set.
The jacket features a few key design refinements specifically for riders of the fairer sex. Firstly the collar has been tweaked, offering a slightly shallower cut when compared with the men’s shell, sitting perfectly around the neck line without feeling restrictive.
The front pocket has also been relocated, after Rapha found during extensive testing that the new placement was much more flattering on the female form.
The tailoring on the jacket is the standout difference when compared alongside the men’s stowaway. A slim fluted cut hugs the figure around the torso, and with the addition of a chest dart, the jacket won’t compress areas we females don’t really want to be squashed! The fit provided is structured to fit slim yet is also unrestrictive.
All Rapha's ladies products feature a theme of subtle red branding throughout. This can be found on silicone grippers to the shorts and also on the cute small branded tags on all three items.
The shorts are a completely new product for Rapha. Opinion is divided on whether females actually prefer to ride in bibs or half shorts, and I think one of the reasons for this, is that up until now there has been a severe lack of real premium options for a half short. Assos offered a pair in a few various colours, but I always found the leg length to be like a hot pant…. Fine for if you’re training in a tropical environment, but for us gals in good old blighty we might want a leg length slightly more practical! I found the inseam length on these shorts to be perfect, not too short and not excessively long either.
The shorts have panels with seams that don’t run down the side of the leg, which provides a complimentary fit and doesn’t highlight those problem areas around the hips.
The waist features a grip-less front panel that is extremely supple and has soft stretchy waistband like those found on maternity jeans.
The shorts are also cut with a nice high back, ensuring your modesty will remained covered even when putting down the hammer riding in the drops.
The chamois found inside is a top of the range Cytech pad, one of the best female specific chamois available on the market. It’s soft and supple and found in other shorts almost twice the price. For visibility, the same reflective tabs are found on each leg as are found on the men’s shorts and ¾ lengths.
The third and final product launched for the spring/summer 2010 ladies collection is the ubiquitous ladies classic jersey. This is offered in red and black flavours, featuring contrasting cream arm warmers. The cut is again refined, and the arm warmers have been designed slimmer too. I won’t launch into too much detail here as I actually have one of these jerseys to roads test this coming week. Expect an in depth review on bianchista shortly....
More information over at Rapha