Given the harsh environments of the poles, outerwear has been very much conceived with protection, wearability and luxurious comfort in mind.
Colour-blocking using a polar-inspired palette, and the combination of different natural fibres to create a rich patchwork motif that is echoed throughout the entire collection, are both key messages for coats, outerwear and beyond this season.
The polar environment is evoked using an off-white palette and polar fur prints;
The calfskin patchwork was inspired by Inuit costume
, and the white Mongolian shearling offers something new and fresh to Belstaff’s outerwear offering.
Inspired by renowned female pioneers, the women’s design team was drawn to Edith "Jackie" Ronne's great Antarctic expedition of 1947. An American journalist and historian, she was the first woman to be a working member of an Antarctic expedition, led by her husband Finn Ronne. She conducted research for 15 months at a small station the 21-member team had set up on Stonington Island in Marguerite Bay, on the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula. This collection celebrates this spirit with a mix of polar and moto inspirations, influenced by wintry landscape textures of snow, icebergs and rocks and a nod to Inuit dress.
This season’s leatherwear comprises new silhouettes such as a bomber jacket in a very tactile tumbled leather.
A café racer with lace-up details and Belstaff’s signature quilted shoulders also features a new embroidered Phoenix emblem ,the traditional Belstaff logo (back shown in above image on the right),
In keeping with the polar theme, many of the leather pieces come with a variety of fur-lined collars for added warmth. Motocross leather pants are combined with fur-lined parkas, while embroidered jackets and patchworks of wools and skins bring richness to the collection.
Further exploring the Inuit / patchwork themes, this season’s sports / casualwear consists of two different but complementary focuses: a very comfortable rich indigo selvedge denim employing the patchwork concept and fringing combined with a more feminine, textured and novelty style featuring pleating in leather and organza in wrap skirts, asymmetrical hems and fringe tape detailing.
A silk bomber jacket with an embroidered Phoenix on the back and its complementary jumpsuit (above image) give a nod to contemporary trends.
Pleats are a strong detail this season, some in icy transparent organza, some in leather, adding fluidity and femininity in contrast to the fur and leather outerwear pieces.
In all, it showcases Belstaff's strong attitude and freedom of spirit but expressed with soft materials and lines. “We were inspired by female pioneers venturing into the earth’s most bleak and hard-to-reach locations in the most challenging of conditions,” explains VP of Women’s Design, Delphine Ninous. “Protection from the elements, warmth and comfort are key themes, as are the stylistic influences derived from these lands and the animals and people that inhabit them.” For the presentation of the collection,
The polar theme pervades the knit offering here with cable knits created from combining shearling and fur, knitted leather worked into the yoke of a jumper, various fringes and hand-applied cables.
There are also some graphic motocross-inspired sweaters - with elbow patches or refined with shoulder patches in gauze for second skin sweaters. A standout knitwear piece is a cosy cashmere cabled one-suit – a hybrid of a biker’s leather racing suit and a thermal onesie.
Belstaff took over the crypt of deconsecrated church One Marylebone, on the edge of London’s Regent’s Park. The high grey arches of the crypt provided a stark backdrop to set the polar scene, with models placed on installations of perspex and opaque white Styrofoam, evoking kryptonite-esque icy shards.
Belstaff was delighted to welcome special guest female polar pioneer Christina Franco – one of the only five women to embark on a sole expedition to the North Pole. Her next attempt will be in 2017.
Photography Credit: Jason Lloyd Evans