Recent monsoon/pre-apocalyptic weather patterns have been making pretty much everything a major ordeal, including getting dressed in the morning. What’s the point of accessorizing to the max when you have to hide it all under frumpy waterproof clobber. Answer: umbrellas with pizzazz. We round up the snazziest brollies on the market, as well as investigating their shady second life as deadly weapons.
For the less suave umbrella bearer, smug at their own foresight and keen to rub it in by soaking others further, some genius designed an umbrella with a water pistol at its base back in 2007, but alas it doesn’t seem to have ever come into production. With a little bit of DIY craftsmanship we’re certain you could fashion your own. In the same vein but with a reasonable RRP of £17.99, is the lightsaber umbrella for commuters who haven’t quite grown up.
The colour changing when wet Squiderella
And for the frivolous and fashion conscious we’d say the best brolly on the block has got to be from Squid London. Their Squidarella designs start off black and white and then transform their skyline, splodges or geometric patterns technicolour when they get wet, literally brightening up otherwise grey days.
There are far more techy umbrellas on the market including The Pileus which connects to the internet (see above) - it has photo share and helps you avoid getting caught in showers for longer than necessary with its 3D map and inbuilt GPS - pretty cool. The Oto-Shigure umbrella will have you singing along in the rain with its inbuilt speakers - you can plug in your ipod and it acts like a sound bubble so that only you can hear your tunes. It also looks like a traditional bamboo Japanese umbrella, which is rather chic.
Other practicality endowed umbrellas include the Brelli which is totally biodegradable, the Senz which is gale proof, guaranteed not to flip inside out and also happens to look like a bad ass fighter jet, as well as Liu Hsiang-Ling's design with a inky tip so you can leave your mark. For couples, hoping to cling to each others sides through deluges, there's a whole range of tandem umbrellas in existence. Our personal favourite, practical high scorer however, has to be the Supebrella (from Japan of course) that manages to be both exceedingly pragmatic and downright mental at the same time [see main image.]
Cecelia Felli's resourceful umbrella skirt
Cecilia Felli, an Italian DIY designer has the solution for when the tables turn, the sun starts to shine, and you don’t have the money to rejuvenate your wardrobe because you splashed out on a swank umbrella. Turns out a broken umbrella can be easily adapted into a skirt!
Umbrella's also have a handy double purpose: if the light sabers, water pistols, knuckledusters and samurai swords weren’t clues enough, we’ll spell it out. They can be weapons - as sported by John Steed, 1960s spies and Sean Connery in Indiana Jones, where he uses his brolly to scare seagulls into the flightpath of a Nazi plane. Umbrellas are not to be messed with, as proven by the Cold War assassination of Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov who was stabbed in the back with a poison-tipped umbrella. Rumour and the Daily Mail has it that President Sarkozy’s bodyguards carry metal plated umbrellas known as Para Pactum worth £10,000 to whack out in the event of an assassination attempt.
Watch this hilariously sincere silver fox test out the Unbreakable Walking Stick Umbrella without so much as breaking a sweat... or smirking.
For a piece of this action there are real life products that market the umbrella as a weapon of self defence, to get around the pesky legislation that bans carrying knives and firearms. Real Self Defense’s Unbreakable Walking Stick Umbrella has the bonafide confidence inducing endorsement of the Philippines Presidential Security Group and comes with what they wittily dub a sleeve/sheath. Creepy?