Belstaff is lightening up for spring.
This story first appeared in the September 10, 2012 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
“For this particular collection, I wanted to explore a more feminine, lighter expression of the brand,” Martin Cooper, Belstaff’s chief creative officer, told WWD on Sunday. Founded in 1924, Belstaff’s heritage is deeply steeped in outerwear with much of the Brit brand’s history focused on sporting pieces, primarily weather-protective jackets. Since joining Belstaff last June, Cooper has refocused the line, expanding its ready-to-wear offerings. “It’s really about adding other pieces to our woman’s wardrobe: soft georgette dresses and blouses, knitwear,” he said. “It’s a softer expression of the brand this season.”
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That’s not to say Cooper is disregarding Belstaff’s roots. “I studied the archives very, very much. Belstaff used to cater to wealthy British aristocrats. There was this group of them called the Bentley Boys who were known for racing their Bentleys. Back then, only the superwealthy could even afford a car and these guys were racing them,” Cooper said. “Belstaff was the outfitter for that type of lifestyle.”
Cooper is very familiar with British luxury. Before joining the company, he spent 16 years rising up the ranks at Burberry, overseeing design, production and manufacturing of the brands’ global outerwear. “I don’t think I could have asked for a better dress rehearsal,” he said of his tenure.
For his spring collection, which he’s presenting today, Cooper drew inspiration from the romanticism of travel days of yore, infusing details from vintage train cases and hard-shelled luggage (e.g., Cavallo leather trims and train stripes) into contemporary cool silhouettes: “Seventy-five years ago, travel was all about pure luxury.”