Dec 18, 2012
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Belstaff continues its move towards luxury

Dec 18, 2012

From its traditional biker jackets to the entire collection, Belstaff is increasingly tilting towards luxury. Since its acquisition by the Labelux group, the legendary English brand born in 1924 has orchestrated a radical repositioning. It hired a new management team, starting American Harry Slatkin as CEO and Damien Mould as marketing director. Meanwhile the brand created two new management posts, one for Fiorenzo Schincaglia as commercial director for Europe, Middle East, and Asia and one for Jeff Lasota as president of U.S. sales.

The new relaxed luxury of Belstaff, Summer collection 2013

And finally this June the brand recruited Martin Cooper as new chief creative officer, a graduate of Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design and a veteran of Burberry. “As soon as I arrived at Belstaff and I met Harry Slatkin, I had a very clear vision of my mission: to transform this mid-range upscale brand into a true luxury label. The goal was to create a Belstaff ‘lifestyle’ of luxury, a complete environment from the collection itself, to store design, including the brand’s image,” explained the designer. The collection has been expanded to create a true total look, complete with accessories such as shoes and bags. It now consists of some 150 pieces for men and the same number for women.

“Initially very focused on men and jackets, Belstaff extended into the whole feminine wardrobe with dresses, knits, etc. I delved into the archives, which has more than 4,000 models, and starting with some of the brand’s traditional pieces, I began to reinterpret,” said Martin Cooper. His approach has yielded pieces such as a classic jacket in oiled suede leather. Intricate sewing gives the jacket sleeves a rounded blouson look while elements like buttons and zippers were designed with great attention to detail.

The Belstaff woman, Summer collection 2013

“We used iconic pieces to preserve the foundation of the classic collection while adding a very luxury direction. The reaction from buyers has been overwhelmingly positive. They are thrilled with this reinterpretation,” said the creative director. The brand recently introduced a line focused on jackets called the "Pure Motorcycle Collection" and mixed things up somewhat by launching a scented candle. Last September, Belstaff finally made it to New York, where it staged its first runway show for its women’s collection. The brand will be there again in February for the next winter collection. The men’s collection will also make a big comeback on Milan’s runways after a short stint at London fashion week.

To support this repositioning, the brand launched a campaign in September with Scottish actor Ewan McGregor and opened new “Belstaff House” stores in the major fashion capitals. The first opening was a 100-square-meter store located in the prestigious via della Spiga in Milan, followed by New York with a 200-square-meter store on 814 Madison Avenue.

The new Belstaff shop in Milan

The brand has a dozen stores under its own name and has announced the opening of a five-story, 2,400-square-meter flagship store on New Bond Street in London, where it will also move its headquarters. The brand previously belonged to the Italian family owned Clothing Company, and its headquarters are still in Milan. Belstaff also handles 80% of its production in Italy and owns a facility in Mogliano Veneto, which it plans to rescale.

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