Wind and rainproof Ventile mac
Thursday, 23rd August 2012
Let’s be honest. You don’t need Ventile. Ventile is technical. Ventile is high performance. It’s by right the preserve of action heroes and top-level twitchers. Rain bounces off. Wind thinks twice. It doesn’t rustle, doesn’t crease; can go in for a pummelling and come out looking crisp.
But while you mightn’t be creeping around undergrowth anytime soon, mightn’t be in a line of work where plunges into deep blue come without much notice, knowing your mac can, if need be, go above and beyond the call of duty doesn’t half put a spring in the step.
Ventile, see, has a ludicrously impressive CV. Used over the past eight decades for hunting, hiking, skiing, surgery, and hush-hush military operations — it was invented for pilot immersion suits no less — all because, as well as being weatherproof and windproof, it’s also lightweight, breathable, natural, durable, and quiet. Its resume reads like the biography of a man with lots of medals, and can be swotted up in full here.
All of which is even more remarkable because Ventile looks and acts nothing like a “high performance” fabric. Made solely of cotton, there’s nothing artificial or synthetic, laminated, treated, coated, or unsatisfactorily shiny about it. It’s technical, but old-school technical: an incredibly dense weave of very fine cotton — the finest 2% of the world’s cotton crop — which, good cotton being good cotton, swells when wet so as to repel water.
The notion of being at face value simple but in truth highly functional is also true of the design of the mac itself. It has a raglan construction, which means no shoulder seams, which means room in the upper body and the smoothest possible drape at the shoulder. Cutting across its middle, meanwhile, are the openings of two button-through pockets. They’re A4 sized, intended for the stashing of official documentation, and inside them, out of sight, is a smaller, shallower pocket. The same pockets may also be accessed from the sides: so-called “warmer pockets”. What looks like two pockets, then, is six. And there are more on the inside: two patch pockets: one chest height and one below the hips.
Also inside the mac is Ventile’s backup man: a charcoal melange-melton. It’s a very fine outerwear fabric in its own right, this; woven by a mill that specialises in melton in West Yorkshire in northern England — a product of its melton laboratory, in fact. It’s smooth, pleasingly hairy, and lightweight but incredibly warm. But you wouldn’t know it was there until you got inside the mac. Not to advocate wearing the mac inside-out — but the option’s there. It’s another case again of much more going on, then, than meets the eye.