The new Vulpine women’s Luxury Winter cycling collection will have you pedalling hard down the road of retail temptation.
I may be a former fashion journalist with something of a fondness for shopping but this season, with an eye on my somewhat squeezed budget, I thought I had finally got my occasionally rampant spending habit well under control. Admittedly there was a slight slip up when I happened upon an Alexander McQueen tux in a second hand shop, which would have been a bargain had I not then bought a new pair of stretch leather trousers to go with it, but it was my birthday so, obviously, that doesn’t count.
But now it’s all gone horribly wrong. For just one glimpse of the new Vulpine Luxury Winter collection has induced a raise of my fashion eyebrows, a quickening of my heart rate (think 20% hill climb and a very strong coffee) and a deep sigh of longing. The reason? This trenchcoat.
Now, unless you’ve been locked in the shed with your turbo trainer for the last four years you will be well aware that urban cycling is both HUGE and very fashionable – so much so that even the staff at Vogue cycle to work – so creating a cycling version of an absolutely classic coat and labelling it luxury is a very smart move by Vulpine.
And this one is a cycle-friendly corker – so much so that, over in my fashion fantasy world, I have convinced my easily swayed self that ownership of this coat would go hand in hand with a glamourous job in South Kensington, should someone like to offer me one. I can wear it for my cycle ride into the office every day and be the girl in these pictures. “Love your coat, honey” they’ll say as I swan into the office with perfectly coiffured non cycling-helmet hair and a chai latte. “Is that from Vulpine’s iconic 2016 collection or is it another vintage McQueen find…oh and by the way Mario wants to know if you’re still okay for lunch”. I HAD THAT LIFE ONCE, YOU KNOW.
Why is this Vulpine trenchcoat so fabulous? It’s super-chic, cut for ease of wear on a bike (shorter length, pleated shoulders for reach), made from showerproof fabric by Lancashire based British Millerain, features a reflective tail split, corozo (a nut!) buttons, snap closure pockets, and a rear flapped pocket for your phone. It’s available in classic stone or equally classic dark navy, both with a tartan lining. It’s made in Britain. Need I go on?
Oh, why not.
I would, of course, accessorise my Vulpine trenchcoat with the new Vulpine British silk scarf (see second image) – as Vulpine say, it is ideal for graceful city cycling superlight, breathable, quick drying and warm. And, as I say, you get to look a bit like an air hostess without having to hand out hot towels.
When it gets really cold I would switch to a Vulpine merino winter collar (below), Vulpine merino socks and even Vulpine merino pants for the ultimate ‘luxury bottom’ experience. Mr Hussey, you are truly spoiling us with your luxury fashions!
Unfortunately for my aforementioned budget, this trenchcoat of my dreams costs a super spendy £395. It is what fashion folk like to refer to as an ‘investment piece’. And alas, I already have a trench coat – sadly it’s just not quite this lovely. But stop weeping everyone because I’ll get through this and be fine, honestly. If I say it often enough, I’ll be okay. Really, I will.
However if you don’t have a trenchcoat yet and you do want a really versatile and smart luxe urban cycling coat that you can GUARENTEE will never go out of fashion – then here it is. I’m jealous already.
My photo blog from the Matrix Fitness Pro Cycling team launch, which took place in Stoke on Trent last week at Staffordshire University.
I grew up in Stoke – which is also where team sponsors Matrix Fitness are based – so it was great to go back there for the day, meet the riders from Matrix Fitness Pro Cycling and hear about the team’s new professional status as a UCI women’s cycling team: an incredible achievement which will allow them to race against the biggest teams in the world this year. It was good to see familiar faces including Chris Garrison from Trek and Polly Farrington from Vulpine – both brands are amongst the team’s sponsors – and Hannah Ustell from Total Women’s Cycling, who I occasionally write for. I also spent much of the day building up the courage to ask for a selfie with special guest and cycling legend Jens Voigt (to cut a long Jens story short, he’s very nice, has incredibly long legs…and I got the selfie*).
But back to the launch, where the team of eleven Matrix Fitness Pro Cycling riders – from superstar Olympian, World and European champion Laura Trott to Development rider 17-year old Lucy Shaw – were the real stars of the day. They were joined by sponsors, the team’s families, local cycling organisations and a LOT of media. It was amazing to see so much support for this team and women’s cycling, and I can’t wait to track their progress through the season.
Below are some of my pictures from the day.
*And here it is :0)
Getting the inside line on the new Hoy Vulpine range with Jools Walker at the London Bike Show.
The first time I met Jools Walker – cycling style blogger at Velo-City Girl and ‘Head Girl’ at stylish cycling apparel brand Vulpine – was at a Sweaty Betty bloggers event on the Kings Road. It was a frenzy of trying-on and not enough changing rooms and somehow we ended up in the shop basement, in our underwear, gleefully giggling amid piles of luxury sportswear. I hasten to add that we’ve managed to stay fully dressed every time we’ve met since. Our paths have crossed at the launch of Brithish Cycling’s campaign to get more women cycling, the Vulpine cycling fete, the Total Women’s Cycling Awards, the Matrix Vulpine team launch and the social ride in Richmond Park, and now at The London Bike show where the brand was launching Hoy Vulpine, a new collaboration with cycling and Olympic legend Sir Chris Hoy.
Jools was holding fort at what turned out to be one of the biggest stands at the show: a huge floor space featuring a fairly minimal amount of carefully displayed garments (think luxury retail). The promise of a Costa Hot Chocolate soon lured her away, and we grabbed ten minutes for a catch up about the new launch (whilst been shot by a photographer who had – fashion coincidence – turned up wearing a Vulpine jacket). Hoy Vulpine was born when Chris Hoy – GB’s most successful Olympic athlete of all time – approached Vulpine – GB’s most successful small, British cycling apparel brand founded in the last three years – about developing a range together. Once they had picked themselves up off the floor, they collaborated on a collection that includes bib shorts and jerseys alongside t-shirts, shorts and socks, with garments for men and women. They haven’t wasted the opportunity to use the Hoy name prominently – it would be foolish not to. While still based on performance fabrics as well as style, the garments are a little more keenly priced than those in the original label collection – £26.99 for a t shirt, £69.99 for a jersey, £79.99 for bibs. It’s also going to be available at Evans (from March) as well as online at Vulpine so while you might not be getting the full-on luxe merino of the main label, you are getting the benefit of economies of scale. I love the colourways and the design details – there’s not a garment that I wouldn’t wear. At the risk of sounding like a woman obsessed with zippers, I liked the choice between a full zip and part zip on the cycling jerseys, and the use of gripable zip pulls that you can use whilst wearing gloves (and angled rear pockets for ease of access). The bibs feature a full bodice rather than just straps: it gives a more streamlined look. And there’s even a zipper garage (a little flap at the top of the zip) that stops the top of the zip digging in to your sternum (I deliberately checked for this because I have a similar pair from another brand which lacks the zipper garage, and so digs in). And the lovely contrast zips – did I mention those?
Post hot chocolate, we headed back to the stand. Matt Stephens had just turned up and happily posed for a few photos. The next day Greg and Kathy LeMond visited and did a little shopping, and Chris Hoy was on the till (or at least very near it). Me? I came, I saw, I got the same T-shirt as Jools because she always looks great: it’s a no-brainer, really. See and shop the full range here. photos: Paul Mitchell.