As a starting point for the design process Kiko looked to the Arte Povera movement of the 1960s, in particular the use of simple objects and raw materials. While researching many different fabrics Kiko kept coming back to rubber – a material integral to Mackintosh and its long history. Fabric innovation – in particular the use of rubber – has been at the heart of Mackintosh since 1823 when chemist Charles Macintosh invented the now iconic rubberised fabric and the ‘Mac’ as we know it today was born. The rubberised coats are still made by hand using traditional techniques in Mackintosh’s Cumbernauld factory. Each seam on a genuine Mackintosh is sealed with bonded tape and a special rubber based glue solution, ensuring that the coat is completely waterproof. This method of sealing and taping the seams is unique to Mackintosh, and the tape used is seen in Mackintosh 0001 in many different guises. On each piece the tape has been carefully considered within the construction of the garment. Doubled up and layered it adds weight to the hems and sleeves of a coat while also creating an interesting contrast of textures. A shiny black rubber tape has been used extensively, appearing as a belt detail on a lab coat, layered with a matte fabric to create an illusion of stripes on the hem of a sleeve, and applied vertically to a pair of trousers and the open back vent of a short lab coat.
While still respecting and paying attention to the heritage, some signature Mackintosh shapes have been reworked. The classic Mac appears here in a reversible version, with a rubberised tape detail on the back seam. A long coat with integrated liner detail is a subtle nod to the removable lining used in many of Mackintosh’s classic raincoats, while a hooded police biker raincoat plays with proportion to create an oversized, flared silhouette. Looking through the Mackintosh archive Kiko came across a pair of rubberised trousers, originally designed for the military and the one of the few trouser styles made in the signature fabric. For Mackintosh 0001 they have been reimagined in a wide legged style, which also appears in nylon and wool.
Uniforms often inform Kiko’s own collections and here this is emphasised with the pairing of each coat or top with trousers in its corresponding fabric. Other elements of uniform have influenced the designs in subtle ways, for example a short blazer with a button down back appears with matching formal trousers to create an elegant suit.
There is a distinct emphasis on fabrics in this collection, and thus the decision was made to make each piece in black, focusing attention on the different textures and finishes of the materials and the silhouette of the clothing. As well as Mackintosh’s signature rubberised cotton, other luxury materials such as wools, nylons and cashmere are used. Coats constructed using Loro Piana’s 3-Layer storm system offer luxurious quality fabrics combined with performance outerwear, echoing the ethos behind Mackintosh’s signature rubberised styles.
The collection also includes base layer jersey pieces made in Japan from a fine New Zealand merino. A jersey top based on an archive undershirt is constructed ‘back to front’, creating a raised half moon shape on the neckline. Knitwear has also been added, with two styles handmade in Scotland; a chunky mohair and silk mix knit with extended turn back cuffs and contrast stitch bib, and a slimmer fit turtle neck with full Milano neckline, cashwool body and steel silk yarn ripple effect stripes. Mackintosh 0001 proposes a new, modern wardrobe for men and women. Looking to Mackintosh’s heritage as makers of the finest quality outerwear many different types of coat have been explored here, from an insulated overcoat and the reworked classic mac to a double layer coat. In addition to this the collection offers more elegant, formal pieces such as the long and short lab coats with matching trousers and blouson jacket.