To the Ends of the Earth
For their Pre-Fall collection, Belstaff focused on the mythical and actual notion of ‘heading North’, so it’s only appropriate that for AW16 they went further still, all the way to the polar icecaps. Specifically, they were inspired by the story of Edith “Jackie” Ronnie, an American journalist and historian who was the first woman to be a working member of an Antarctic expedition: it’s certainly refreshing to see Belstaff looking to female pioneers, as the world of hardy, expedition-inspired clothing is all too often dominated by narratives of men and their hyper masculine, semi masochistic exploits.
So, what of the clothes? Well, as always with Belstaff, outerwear rules supreme – no surprise when they’re designing with sub-zero temperatures in mind. That meant an abundance of super cosy pieces like colour blocked, fuzzy camel coats, snow white parkas and Mongolian shearlings that were seriously luxe and ever so covetable, not to mention warm – no bad thing for the models when the venue was the chilly crypt of deconsecrated church One Marylebone.
Where there is hearty outerwear, there must, of course, be hefty knitwear: Belstaff served up dense and textured mixed media cableknits that combined wool with shearling and fur, and even featured intricate details like knitted leather yokes. If this all sounds like a heritage overload, there were thankfully splashes of modernity in the form of motocross inspired sweaters featuring technical gauze, a silk embroidered bomber jacket that had a touch of Gucci about it (something I never thought I would say about Belstaff) and a sexed up jumpsuit that was every bit the action heroine.