Rapha just announced a two-season collaboration with London department store Liberty to produce limited edition versions of their most popular Women’s cycling kit, plus a crossover in their off-the-bike line. Rapha’s design team worked with archivists from Liberty to go through their collection of over 40,000 textile prints, dating from the 1880s, and ultimately chose a print from the 1930s that had a timeless look. That historic print has now been reproduced in a techy manner for the Rapha+Liberty cycling and casual apparel.
Follow us across the fold for a closer look at the key Rapha+Liberty cycling pieces…
Rapha+Liberty: The Fine Print. Since 1875, Liberty has built its name on iconic graphic and floral prints, which it maintains to this day, along with a wide range of luxury goods. Rapha who has avoided most prints didn’t want to jump on anything too floral for their jerseys, but was really interested to mine the Liberty catalog and dig out something that suggested motion and could work with their aesthetic.
Leading up to the launch, a series of 10 limited-edition cycling caps were also made available online, each featuring a signature Liberty floral print. It seems though that they have all already sold out before the main launch today.
The most prominent use of the Rapha+Liberty print is in the special edition Souplesse jersey. Nothing new fabric or fit here, just the same excellent women’s version of the Pro Team fit for 5 quid/10 bucks more at 125£/150€/$185. What is unique though is that all of the black printed dots are actually reflective.
That is more of a big deal when you go over to the 150£/195€/$225 long sleeve jersey. It gets and all black front and arms, but the print on the rear makes the jersey pop when headlights shine on it. The midweight Rapha+Liberty long sleeve jersey is an excellent cool and cold weather piece of kit (a bit heavier than the current standard Long Sleeve and Brevet jerseys), using Rapha’s most versatile 52/48% merino/polyester blend.
As part of the collection there is also an matching expensive cotton cap and silk scarf that can perform well on the bike. Then there is a bit more of the overpriced around town fashion that Rapha has been know to dabble in, this time with some stranger than normal selections: a Bomber jacket, a sweatshirt, and a pair of pricey leggings. Clearly these are more of the fashion elements from the Liberty cross-over, but still a bit strange nonetheless.
Along with the launch Rapha also designed a window display for Liberty’s Regent Street shop around the theme of the Liberty Challenge Cup, a cycling race that had been held for Liberty’s female staff from 1901-1927. Plans are underway for a revival of the race as part of the forthcoming Spring & Summer 2016 Rapha+Liberty collection.
The collection launched today and all pieces will be available online from Rapha, in all Rapha Cycle Club stores worldwide, and at Liberty’s original Regent Street shop in London.