Whatever its criticisms today, the sophisticated rubber mackintosh of the thirties lacked nothing in sensual provocation, be that coincidence or not, and the manufacturers lacked nothing in inspiration.
One particular style which I recall from my childhood was a single textured cotton of beige matt exterior with a soft rubber lining. The lining was patterned in pink chequered style, not unlike the pattern of linings one sees today in contemporary rainwear.
Vivid in my memory is the perfume of this mackintosh which seemed to pervade every coat rack and wardrobe where it hung. If it had been worn by a woman her perfume blended so mischievously with its particular scent that to some of us it was nothing short of an aphrodisiac essence.
I recall some blue school macks which were similar to this style with a large square chequered pattern on the rubber lining. I wonder if any of your readers possesses such a mack from the thirties for I doubt if they have been manufactured since that era?
Those rubber lined macks had a subtle melody increasing in volume with the movement of its owner, perhaps at times a mischievous betrayal! To watch a woman dress herself and walk in those macks was a voluptuous ballet of seduction.
The satin or matt exterior contrasted with the soft provoking lining and affinity of woman and mackintosh.
I must also praise the qualities of the German ‘Kleppers’ that, with its English cousin, surely joined the ranks of the exotic and erotic in rainwear.
I doubt if its creator, Johanns Klepper, had any more idea than had his English contemporaries that his creation would be something more than a practical waterproof.
The ‘Klepper’ is a classic with its patterned air vents across the back placed in a series of pleats or ‘rillo’, to use the German term; its capes so generously cut with an inverted pleat in the length of the back to give it swishy girth and freedom of movement.
This double sided rubberised cotton has been, for many years, made in two colours; grey and green. Recently blue and beige have been introduced to add variety to an otherwise rigid conformity. The ‘Klepper’ incorporates all the attributes we associate with rubber rainwear, supple and fragrant. Indeed, the grey colour, dramatic as it is, deflects nothing of its effeminate qualities. In fact, the colour to my mind highlights hair and complexion and moves with full accord with all the acknowledgement of a woman’s swaying hips.
‘Klepper’ is not so noisy as its English cousin, it is more of a whisper than a rustle. Kettner, who are agents for green Kleppers in Germany are a firm that specialises in equipment for the hunt and they assure customers that the green Klepper coats and capes make little noise!