It also appears that the photos featuring my Brighton rubber mackintosh (see image on left) which were included in the Dinner Date in a Shiny Black Rubber Mackintosh post are the most popular with visitors since the blog was re-launched back in January. This is personally very gratifying, and confirms what I have come to understand over the years that many enthusiasts appreciate the opportunity to see photos and video content of rainwear being worn in a "real life" setting.
Earlier next month, (May 2013) I will be re-launching my website which will extensively feature photos of mackintoshes, capes and other raingear along with a more open discussion on the subject of dressing for pleasure in rainwear. With this in mind, I encourage those interested to visit: twitter.com/therainwearist on a regular basis for further news and launch updates.
Back in the 1970’s, there was a ladies fashion shop in Epsom, Surrey located in a shopping arcade near the towns Clock Tower with a secret.
To the casual observer, May’s of Epsom (I am using a fictitious name for the purpose of this blog post) was a high-end ladies fashion boutique which served the needs of well-to- do customers in this historic horse racing town located south west of London.
May’s secret was located in an alcove at the back of the shop. Just behind two large potted Fichus trees and a large glass table covered with ladies fashion magazines which always included the latest editions of Queen and Vogue.
What was the secret? A large selection of shiny black rubber mackintoshes and double texture rubberized riding macs, all displayed on brass clothing rails which could be closed off from view by a large red velvet curtain at any time.
In fact, if not for the strong rubber aroma, it would have been hard for anyone to notice the partially hidden display of rubber mackintoshes positioned as far away as possible from the rest of the shops fashion wear and sales counters.
But to the informed rubber rainwear enthusiast, May’s offered a good and reliable source for quality rubber rainwear in a comfortable and above all discreet setting.
Based on my own recollection, the majority of the rubber mackintoshes on sale at May’s were described as either "Town and Country" walking coats or equestrian "Riding Macs", all fashioned in a single breasted, style with a fly front and accompanying belt. However, occasionally they would stock a full length double breasted military style mackintosh in shiny black rubber which they would describe as their own exclusive "Trench Mac".
Almost certainly, May’s owners recognized the sales opportunities in selling quality rubber rainwear to their customers but also may have felt a little uncomfortable selling what many considered at the time to be kinky or fetishistic rainwear.
Over the years, there have been a number of theories why rubber mackintoshes and especially shiny black rubber (SBR) mackintoshes are considered in some circles to be kinky or taboo. One theory dates back to the beginning of the last century, when reportedly well-to-do upper class women made a point of never going out in the rain. Consequently, any woman who wore a waterproof rubber raincoat commonly referred to as a mackintosh after inventor Charles Macintosh (the k was inserted in the generic name to avoid trademark infringement in later years by rainwear manufacturers) was considered to be a woman of questionable character or ill repute. Further, by the 1920’s, rubber clothing was recognized to have certain fetish connotations. Consequently, any woman dressed in a rubber mackintosh would almost certainly have gained attention and scrutiny in certain quarters.
During the 1950’s, rubber mackintoshes manufactured in SBR, rubberized single and double texture proofed cotton and rubber backed satin and nylon were relatively affordable and easy to find in high street shops and department stores across the UK and USA and frequently worn by men and women from all walks of life. The majority of whom were unaware of their raincoats kinky reputation.
Without question or doubt, the shiny plastic (PVC) mackintosh almost certainly took over the mantle of the ‘kinky mac" in the swinging 60’s and progressive 70’s, due in part to its ubiquitous presence in the media.
Meanwhile, sales of the traditional rubber mackintosh in its various forms still remained relatively strong.
In 1974, New York Dolls and later Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren along with fashion designer Vivien Westwood caused a stir at their shop named Sex located at 430 Kings Road, Chelsea by openly selling amongst other things, rubber clothing. This included, to the interest of the British press and London Metropolitan Police, a selection of latex rubberwear including catsuits, dresses, gloves, hoods, masks, skirts and of course shiny black rubber mackintoshes.
Before long, models dressed in rubber mackintoshes and masks from McLaren and Westwood’s shop began showing up in adult magazine centerfolds, and even the British national press modeling (and promoting) the shops wares and confirming to the world that rubber and particularly the rubber mackintosh was still very much an item of "kinky" British clothing.
Almost certainly, McLaren and Westwood’s relatively short-lived retail establishment drew attention to rubber as a revolutionary fashion material for younger people to wear, during the 1970’s punk rock era resulting in the launch of several rubber enthusiast magazines during that time period in the UK and Continental Europe.
But the rubber mackintosh did not become the adopted street wear of younger people in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and eventually slipped back into relative obscurity as the treasured garment for only the most dedicated rubber rainwear enthusiasts to purchase and enjoy.
Town & Country Rubber Mackintosh
Today in 2013, there are no May’s of Epsom to the best of my knowledge, discreetly selling rubber mackintoshes to their customers from the back of their shop. In fact, there are only a few retailers selling traditional rubber mackintoshes around the world and only a handful of rubber rainwear manufacturers the majority of which reportedly rely on one UK based supplier for the coveted "natural rubber" SBR and single/double textured mackintosh material.
While I can personally attest (based on my email), that the rubber mackintosh is still very popular item of rainwear with enthusiasts around the world, it is hard to predict the long term future of this much loved raincoat and all the "kinky mac" connotations that go with it, which for the record, I happen to believe adds to the mackintoshes’ appeal.
The secret life of the rubber mackintosh will continue...
In my opinion, the Latex Rubber Mackintosh is most definitely an item of fetish wear or club wear best suited to nocturnal activities.
Over the years, I have owned several latex mackintoshes purchased from leading European manufacturers including Demask and Sealwear. All have been truly wonderful items of rainwear in terms of quality, looks and outright rubber fetish appeal.
While I would be the first to admit that latex macs are fun to wear, they do however, lack the practical advantages of a more traditional SBR, single/double texture or PVC/PU mackintosh as far as overall comfort and daily uses are concerned.
Typically made from heavier gauge latex sheeting than other latex fashion wear, these mackintoshes tend to feel somewhat cumbersome and restrictive when worn out-and-about especially if tightly belted.
Based on my own personal experiences, latex fashion and fetish wear including dresses, skirts and suits can be very attractive and easy to wear and will always get you noticed at a party or social event. But no matter how well designed and made a latex mackintosh may be, it cannot compete with the crisp, sharp lines of a shiny black rubber or plastic mackintosh when it comes to overall style and sex appeal.
It has to be said that on the limited number of occasions that I have worn one of my latex macs out for the evening (typically over a skirt and blouse), I have always received favorable comments.
Maybe it’s the strong latex rubber aroma combined with my Coco perfume, or perhaps it’s the novelty of seeing a woman engulfed in folds of shiny black latex rubber? Whatever the answer, the fact remains that wearing a latex rubber mac can be fun and that’s all that matters, as far as I am concerned.