NEW YORK — Most Americans saw Belstaff on the big screen before they were able to find it on the shelves of department stores. Now the Italian outerwear company, famous for its motorcycle jackets, will launch a full women’s collection for fall.
“We were the first company to do clothing for protection,” said Manuele Malenotti, international marketing and public relations director for the 81-year-old company based in Mogliano Veneto, 10 minutes outside of Venice. “We began as an outerwear company that people wore for function. Nowadays, people need technical clothing every day.”
The women’s collection will include sportswear, outerwear, shoes and accessories. T-shirts will wholesale for $40 with jeans between $68 and $92; sweatshirts from $69 to $130; shoes and boots between $75 and $230; nylon and cotton jackets between $180 and $250, and leather goods will go as high as $360 to $490.
“The women’s silhouettes are tighter and sexier than the men’s,” Malenotti said, pulling metallic purple and green-hued leather jackets from the racks in the Belstaff showroom in SoHo here.
An advertising campaign to announce the women’s collection in the U.S. is slated to launch in July fashion magazines. The ads will be styled by Andrew Richardson. “We want to do something high-level,” Malenotti said.
While Belstaff is a $175 million retail company in Europe and Japan, Malenotti said the firm exercised patience before entering the U.S. market, where he predicts wholesale volume for women’s, men’s and children’s will reach $1.7 million, with women’s raking in about $700,000 wholesale.
“We feel like now the U.S. market will work very well for us,” Malenotti said. “It’s very important when you launch here to give the right message.”
Before the U.S. launch, Belstaff was perhaps most recognizable by its presence in movies. Stars like Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and Tom Cruise have worn Belstaff in character. Most recently, Belstaff released the Aviator by Belstaff collection inspired by original apparel in the Belstaff museum, located on the ground floor of the company’s Milan showroom. This collection features styles inspired by clothing made in the Thirties and Forties meant to protect flyers from extreme weather conditions. Miramax chose a number of styles for 2004’s “The Aviator,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. The company got another boost from Hollywood on Tuesday night when “The Interpreter” opened at the Tribeca Film Festival here.
“Nicole Kidman carries a Belstaff bag throughout 80 percent of the film,” said Malenotti.
The full women’s collection will be available at specialty boutiques such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Atrium in August.