by LUKE LEITCH
This season(s), the motorcycling heritage brand Belstaff sped into broader fashion consensus by aligning the theme and presentation of its Resort and Pre-Spring menswear collections. Yet it was careful to retain the authorial independence of its two gender-specific design chiefs. That theme, as menswear’s Fred Dyhr put it, “starts with the 1971 documentary On Any Sunday, which featured Steve McQueen. And we were also looking at what was happening in England in riding and motorcycle culture at the same time. And it was about customization: A lot of riders were taking stars, stripes and customizing their own jackets.”
This was a safe-ish theme for Belstaff—after all, McQueen was one of its best-known champions and On Any Sunday is all about motorcycle culture—but the customization angle gave each designer room to articulate their own creative urges while staying in broad alignment. So let’s shift gears, and veer over to womenswear designer Delphine Ninous: “Of course there is moto inspiration in the clothes: That is us. But there is also something a little bit less first degree and literal. I have worked to bring a little bit of softness in it.”
Standout womenswear pieces included soft and fluid suede Perfectos in green and tan, some great denim spattered with starry fruits of that customization theme, and animal-camp fringed dresses and shirts. The menswear was harder but no less consideredly sophisticated: Here the to-be-expected moves included enduro jackets in richly burnished leather patches, moto-leather pants, and jumpsuits. The Millerain camo parkas with house diamond-stitch detail were less obvious but no less lovely.
“We share an office,” said Fred of Delphine, “and we talk all the time.” There is harmony here, but each rider chooses their own course.