The enduring romance of the Paris-Dakar rally, the off-road endurance event first staged in 1978, was on Delphine Ninous’ mind when she whipped together this rugged luxe collection of outerwear filled with desert tones and searing bright primary colors.
“I’m French and I have so much nostalgia for it,” said Belstaff’s creative director of the race that now takes place in South America due to political troubles in Africa.
She said her aim was to knit together the shades and shadows of the desert with the artificial plastic brights of the cars and rally logos.
That came through in a red and white racing stripe, inspired by the spray paint on cars, that wound its way onto the necks of quilted nylon jackets, the sleeves of knitted tops and down the legs of trousers. Screaming yellow sweaters were adorned with oversized logos, while puffer jackets and sweaters were dyed burnt orange.
Ninous’ imaginary trip to the desert also got her thinking about different climates and the various fabric weights the racers required, so she came up with a capsule collection of pared-down, everyday outerwear for sporty men and women. “Waterproofing can often make a garment hot, so I started thinking of ways to be innovative and relevant.”
The collection comes stripped of Belstaff’s signature buckles, belts or latches, and instead is made from a feather-light, stretchy technical material with details such as mesh vents, and reflective tape for cyclists, all of it built more for performance than for romance.