Belstaff Menswear Fall/Winter 2016 London

Held in a railway arch carpeted with scree and lined with snow–topped foam boulders, this presentation was meant to transport us to an unspecified North, where we would hear The Call of the Wild. Wherever it was, the staging suggested a remote and hostile freezing wilderness. Ha! We hardy menswear explorers barely blinked at the crush, the nosebleed techno, the photographers, the Chinese celebrities, or the Zoolander 2–partnered Blue Steel vodka cocktail. Meanwhile, the one genuine outdoorsman in the room—Levison Wood, who had just returned from a six-month, four-million-step walk across the Himalayas during which he fell 150 meters off a cliff (his Belstaff was undamaged, but he broke his leg)—confessed with a twitch that he was suddenly deep in uncharted territory.

As with Pre—because Belstaff synergises its collections across the genders—this was an expedition into cold terrain. The equipment (it seems a belittlement to call them clothes) was husky and hearty but not as heavy as it looked. Japanese-sourced layered technical nylon in subtle-in-the-snow white was applied to active parkas with Roadmaster shoulders and other moto Belstaff tics. Pod backpacks looked element-immune. The knitwear was Fair Isle touched. That opening ski-appropriate section of Perfecto piumini gave way to reverse shearling variations of the Belstaff canon—including the shortened, more fitted Speedmaster. Later there were opaque silicon jackets both long and short to wear above them and repel unsightly rain-stains. The intarsia nylon camo pieces were well worth getting cold for.

Such a barrage of high-design, heavy-spec outerwear can become a little much, though. Which is why the ingenious mittens with fold-backable finger pouch garnered plenty of admiring examination. These were ideal items for maximizing the Arctic Instagram man’s touchscreen access, and, like much else in this collection, they were simultaneously very cool and very warm.

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