BELSTAFF AUTUMN/WINTER 2019 WOMEN'S COLLECTION: GREAT BRITISH ROOTS
“This collection is all about bringing it home. About honouring the roots of Belstaff and exploring the incredible journey it’s been on from the 1920s in the industrial north of England in Stoke-on-Trent – from outfitting early motorcyclists and aviators, and making uniforms – to today, dressing our twenty-first century customers in evolved British designs that are built for life and dedicated to all those who love the spirit of adventure.” Sean Lehnhardt-Moore, Creative Director
The Autumn/Winter 2019 Belstaff Collection is the first by Creative Director Sean Lehnhardt-Moore, and reflects his love of the roots of the brand. For this reason, it is being shown ‘at home’ at Belstaff House in Mayfair, where guests are invited to view an installation that represents Belstaff’s present in the context of an unpacking of its past.
In a space dominated by four large packing crates, suggesting the spirit of travel, the journey the brand has been on and the treasures often unearthed in a house move or attic exploration, Belstaff focuses on four compass points that reference its past. The clothes assigned to each point represent the contemporary evolution of the brand’s story.
All have in common a distinctive spirit derived from a history of outfitting motorcyclists and adventurers. All embody Belstaff’s solid foundation in the use of quality fabrics and finishes: hand-waxed leather and cotton, suede and shearling as well as the finest, noblest yarns of Merino wool and cashmere. Technical fabrics capture the modern-day equivalent of the innovatively treated natural
materials that Belstaff pioneered in its early days.
As well as the jackets and coats for which the brand is rightly famous, the collection also sees an extensive exploration of knitwear styles, which now serve as layering pieces, as well as modern outerwear solutions.
The four ‘compass points’ of the new collection are:
The Scene In the 1920s, Belstaff made protective travelling gear and has had an affinity with the great outdoors and the world of hiking, camping and exploration ever since. In its most extreme expression, this resulted in a Great British Waterproofs collection developed with British mountaineer Sir Chris Bonington in the 1970s. Today, the love of trails, tents and tarps continues with a selection of pieces presented against a woodland backdrop of logs and leaves, as well as a hint of neon to celebrate the introduction of a new Belstaff red.
The Collection Teamed with chestnut and indigo, the new red colour is a key development here. It is shown-off well in the hooded Wing Jacket, which comes in a new fabric for Belstaff: a dry waxed cotton with a canvas feel. The Shearling Car Coat in chestnut is a substantial, warm piece, while the Journey Jacket in broken-in, heavily stonewashed khaki canvas with brown bridal leather trim speaks of hours spent on the road. More luxurious is the women’s Earhart Flight Jacket (named after aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart, who wore Belstaff), in soft, lightweight leather-backed chestnut suede. Lightweight fisherman’s ribbed roll necks in oatmeal lambswool, and old-school layerng styles with engineered ribs fit well with this look, as do red wool/cashmere sweatshirts with contoured finishing.
The Scene Belstaff has a long connection with the military, particularly with the Navy, making uniforms and more extreme protective kit. The Belstaff Foul Weather Parka was created for the Royal Navy in the 1970s. Today, in a setting evoking the ropes and pulleys, chains, moorings, netting and cleats of the quayside, the brand presents a maritime-themed selection of outfits.
The Collection The key colours are navy and dark indigo, of course, though there is also a presence of silver and olive, and the key fabric is wool Melton. A long military-style double-breasted woollen trench coat (the Milford) has officer class, while a p-coat in a similar style (the Naval P-Coat) is more casual. The thick-ribbed woollen Marine Roll Neck in navy with contrasting rib patterns is
the perfect accompaniment to these. The Indigo Racemaster and Indigo Trialmaster jackets represent two iconic Belstaff motorcycle jacket styles reimagined in rinsed, dark denim bringing them right up-to-date. A hybrid navy blue technical jacket combines nylon and wool Melton, fusing past codes with modern ones, offering a shearling trimmed hooded version for women.
THE MACHINE AGE
The Scene From the very beginning, Belstaff equipped drivers, aviators and motorcyclists. All had a love of the machines that enabled them to have new adventures. Above all, it was those on two wheels who came to really adopt Belstaff. Over the years, many notable motorcyclists have worn the gear produced by the Stoke-on-Trent brand, from Che Guevara, TE Lawrence (of Arabia) and Steve McQueen in years gone by to contemporary bikers such as Ewan McGregor, Charlie Boorman and David Beckham. To pay homage to the mechanised steed and how it has become increasingly urban in its design and habitat, Belstaff has sourced a beautiful vintage British Norton motorcycle and a host of bike parts from a custom garage in Hackney Wick.
The Collection Evoking the sense of an urban patrol, the principle colours here are black, bone and blackberry. The motorcycle references are given a contemporary urban treatment. A women’s black leather biker cape, the Sidney Cape, has zip openings for the arms, while the black leather women’s Marvingt Coat takes inspiration from an iconic Belstaff jacket and is named after the aviator and mountaineer Marie Marvingt. The Patrol Jacket is in black waxed cotton with a black shearling collar, while the khaki double-faced cotton Garrison Trench Coat is hard wearing with waterproof sealed seams. There’s also a women’s black and white reversible checked cape in double-faced wool in this group, and the knitted woollen scarves showcase modern cables alongside more traditional Irish cables. As befits a collection that is always engineered, the black leather biker boots are supremely tough, with straps and brass buckles, and belts in thick raw uncoloured leather with brass harness fastenings.
The Scene While much of Belstaff’s British heritage is the romantic stuff of adventure, the brand also possesses a down-to-earth functionality. Founded in Stoke-on-Trent in the 1920s, Belstaff was forged in an atmosphere of industrial development in an area dominated by potteries and coal mining. Its founder had supplied technical fabrics and waterproof materials to local factories to make capes and groundsheets for the British Army during the First World War, and Belstaff has never forgotten that its success depended on an understanding of function and performance. In a setting evoking the coal dust, cobbles and gas lighting of its original home in the last century, Belstaff presents a selection of pieces that evoke the toughness and palette of the industrial north of England.
The Collection Colours are black, brown and charcoal grey, in leather, wool and shearling, giving a handcrafted look. The Vincent Biker Jacket (named after the Vincent Black Shadow motorcycle) combines black and brown leather, as does the Danescroft Jacket, a black flight jacket with brown shearling interior and antique brass trim. Black cable knit woollen jumpers take inspiration from Scottish and Irish cable designs and appear handmade. The Trail Jacket, a hybrid black wool Melton style, with a detachable black shearling collar and black corduroy trim, references uniforms belonging to the forces of land, sea and sky.
Creative Director’s Statement: “I believe Belstaff possesses a type of truth. There is an honesty about these pieces that means people buy them, and love to own and wear them for a long time. These are investment pieces; they don’t wear you. Nor are they merely an exercise in nostalgia, even though they are often inspired by Belstaff’s heritage. Our customers don’t want faux-old. They want something that will grow with them: the best leather and waxed jackets take on your form, your personality and you treasure them for that reason. Creating beautiful pieces that will enjoy a long life is also a meaningfully sustainable approach.”
Belstaff is the essential outfitter for the modern adventurer. For close to a century, it has been making clothes for those who want to push the limits. With heritage of technical innovation rooted in the north of England, the company started life by kitting out some of the most daring people the world has seen, from aviator Amy Johnson to adventurer TE Lawrence and revolutionary Che Guevara. The jackets they wore are still made by Belstaff today – and questing individuals are still kitted out in an array of products that combine respect for the past with a hunger for future development.
Technically excellent, beautifully crafted British design and know-how lies at the heart of Belstaff, and pieces range from robust, high-performance wear for the most exacting of conditions, to perfectly judged pieces for more everyday adventures. Rigorously designed, effortlessly good-looking, Belstaff is built for life.
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