by Jeremy Danté

MILAN – the belstaff collections continue with sleek, stylish consistency from season to season. a bit more utilitarian, the SS14 belstaff collection was as masculine as you could imagine. but in the right ways, it was stylish and ultra hip. though only a few looks were included in the 16 piece lookbook, each packed a powerful punch and multitude of items that could punch up and knock out the competition. in my return to reviewing runway, i’ve been a little on the fence about off runway collections, as runway is about theatricality- to show on the runway is at the heart of fashion. that said, some labels are still in the process of reinvention, and belstaff is one of those labels. a british fashion label that was founded in 1924, they’re definitely not considered rookies. but in the same sense, the brands trademark products are that of water proof coats. the challenge here is to create a stylistically versatile collection that somehow merges, while respecting, the existing heritage with the competitive edge it takes to win in high fashion. in the collection, the presence of jackets takes the cake, the cookie and the milk- all at once. with their all-weather motorcycle coats, belstaff is the first company to ever use waxed cotton, in history. this mark of innovation at a label is not to be ignored, and while use of such textiles might be considered too harsh for womenwear, in menswear it’s fair game. the concepts are innovative, while channeling a feel of classical rugged nature that is often associated with products like waterproof coats. i’ve admired the sense of creative re-direction at belstaff and really do hope to see them expand more into the luxury market. in looking at this collection, the vision is there, the style component is there- all they need is the consumer who’ll buy. in fashion these days, it’s anyones game but whether or not you’re in a major market or not, a great collection is a great collection and that this was. an outstanding collection that is mindful of it’s brand’s history.

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