The Amsterdam-based fashion project Black Rabbit fascinates us profoundly. The story behind the project is both romantically intriguing and proof of a relentless love for collecting and exquisite eye for quality. The story starts with one of the founders, Leo Velimir Brancovich, visiting Mongolia about 20 years ago. There he met a teenage boy, who eventually agreed to trade his unusual earth colored trench-coat for the spotless NATO parka Brankovich was wearing. That mysterious coat remained with Leo for the next eighteen years. He was very intrigued by it, but a rectangular label on the inside pocket was the only thing to identify where it had come from. The label bore the initials “БЯ” in cyrillic script and between these two glyphs was placed the roman numeral “III” on a deep red-brown vertical band. In the following years Brancovich started searching for more garments and found six more of these exceptional and mysterious garments. In his quest he also met fellow-collectors, of whom Taro from Tokyo played an important role by introducing him to a lady living in Casablanca and her much larger Series III collection, stored in an 1970‘s brick villa near Avignon. These two collections, of Taro and the lady from Avignon, proved to be the foundations of the Black Rabbit project to reissue these captivating garments. The group’s name – Black Rabbit – is a homage to the mysterious “БЯ” initials – the only feature common to all of the original Series III source garments Brancovich and his partners have so far discovered.
To cut a long story short, I ended up offering the rider my spotless NATO parka in exchange for the unusual earth coloured trench-coat he wore over synthetic blue Adidas track pants. It was lucky for me that my parka fit him just as badly as the grimy trench had, and a deal was done. We shook hands as the orange rays of the setting sun played on the dust kicked up by the impatient horse. I can still remember the kid’s smiling face in the Riva’s mirror, as the car bounced away into the dusk.
That coat remained with me for the next eighteen years. It was a intriguing design, but aside from a very small rectangular label on the inside pocket there was nothing to identify where it had come from. The dull white label bore the initials “БЯ” in cyrillic script and between these two glyphs was placed the roman numeral “III” on a deep red-brown vertical band.
We love how Brancovich and his partners have progressed from researching the origins of the Series III to raising the possibility of actually reissuing and therefore conserving the classic designs. Production is being followed up by two senior designers – both from influential brands – who gave up their previous positions to work exclusively on this demanding project. The garments of the label will be released as tranches; Tranche I being the first. Each one of these tranches will be dedicated to a specific time-frame in Series III history. The items in Tranche I are referred to as, ‘Green Block’, as original Series III garments all feature a small label bearing a colored stripe indicating their approximate year of production.
Tranche I consists of 12 items and was released during the autumn of last year. In line of the originals, the reissues are of the highest quality available, built without compromise. The collection wil be sold almost exclusively online, through Black Rabbit’s own webstore. With the coming years promising an intriguing evolution within the label, deeply rooted within the original Series III.
We are extremely curious where this fascinating project will be taken in the future.
Editorial photography by Remy Castle.
For more information and to visit the webstore see here.