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Rapha Launches Women’s Souplesse Collection

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The Rapha Souplesse collection is designed exclusively for women. Taking inspiration from across the Rapha range, including the cutting-edge performance technology used in our Pro Team collection, Souplesse garments combine beauty and function to produce women’s roadwear fit for all the demands of high-tempo riding.

The word souplesse is used to describe a graceful pedal stroke, and to look perfectly natural on a bicycle. Updated for 2016 with new design features and high performance fabrics, the Rapha Souplesse collection makes comfort and style on the bike effortless.

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IN DISCUSSION WITH MARIA OLSSON, DESIGNER AT RAPHA

Where does the inspiration for the Souplesse collection come from?

“When we first made garments for women in 2010, there was a limited choice, and the products were simply adaptations of our men’s range. In 2013 we launched the Souplesse collection, which was developed for women from the ground up, engineered for their needs and with a unique aesthetic. For me, Souplesse represents the ultimate passion for cycling. Not only in terms of getting out and riding, but also in how you feel and how you look. All these things come together to form a total impression of your ride. Your cycling wardrobe can become part of who you are, and this collection provides a full package of fit, feel and comfort. It takes all the beautiful Rapha features from across our collections and brings them to a new technical level specifically for women.”

How are the products for the Souplesse collection developed?

“We draw on feedback from consumers and the professional world, and translate everything we know into a woman’s state of mind. Using the Rain Shell as an example, the fabric and technology is taken directly from the Race Cape developed for Team Sky, but reimagined with a women’s fit.

“The positioning of the body whilst riding is very similar between men and women, but we’re anatomically different, and chest and hips have to be taken into consideration. Whether it’s the feel of the fabrics we use or the technical features, it all counts.

“In terms of bib shorts, women are much more conscious of appearance, which plays a big part in the confidence and comfort we feel on the bike. It also helps that I can wear test everything we’re working on. Whether I’m riding to and from work, or taking part in a long-distance event, I’ll think about the various issues women could encounter while out riding and apply it to the development process. We have a lot of women in the office who ride at different levels, and we draw on their experiences, too.”

Following the recent partnership with CANYON//SRAM women’s racing team, how do you see the women’s offering at Rapha developing?

“Feedback from the team and constant interaction with the riders will be so important going forward. It will be a great contribution to the future development of women’s roadwear at Rapha.

“We’re in an exciting phase right now. We’ve established the men’s collections at such a high level, and now we’re expanding the women’s collection. We might have different mind-sets across genders, but both ranges can complement each other, resulting in brilliant solutions for men and women on a highly technical level.”

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