In the beginning there was Rapha black; classic, timeless, refined, tailored, graphic, urban, edgy, luxurious, flattering BLACK. If they did nothing else I'm sure I'd still be happy, but each season Rapha brings a refined sense of color to the road for discerning riders.
In 2008 Rapha delivered its second generation Stowaway Jacket. Cut from lighter, softer, stretchier fabric and licensed to kill, it was a featherweight companion you could take anywhere, and did! If the Londoners hadn't seen fit to tempt us with the equally impressive Classic Softshell, Light-Weight Softshell, and Fixed-Jackets, it might have been a monogamous relationship albeit with a little more inventive layering in the bedroom. This year the definitive black model has been joined by higher-visibility Stowaways in Orange and Misty Blue. Lucky bastard that I am, I was fortunate to receive a Misty Blue version early last week and as you can see from the accompanying photos, its predictably stylish.
The 2009 Rapha Stowaway Jackets (Black, Orange, Misty Blue) are priced at £175 $290 €195
If fashion is as much about "being seen" as "how we see ourselves" cycling fashion on public roads must ensure we are SEEN. All too often it seems we must sacrifice style for a measure of safety, but not this time.
Misty Blue doesn't pack the concentrated punch of it's orange sibling, but it manages to reconcile the seemingly opposite aspirations of higher-visibility and subtlety in one sophisticated, translucent shade of blue. Pulling it on gives me the same confidence I get from my red Lightweight Softshell. I don't kid myself it will protect me from the blind, the distracted or the criminally stupid, but that's an intervention best left to my DiNottes.
If you're reading this and haven't accepted a Stowaway into your life, it's time to confess your sins and give yourself up to a higher power. Chapter and verse according to the creative gospel of Luke (Scheybeler). But enough of this blasphemy, when there's more kit to review.
A freshly washed Enigma Eulogy wearing Edge Composites Clinchers