The road Belstaff travels is somewhat rockier for women than for men. The brand, in its recent revival, is dedicated to its racing heritage, which is an easy fit for menswear. But for the fairer sex—at least the contingent that aren't Daughters of Anarchy—the path is less clear. Martin Cooper, the label's creative director, has been applying himself to the challenge. "Feminizing motor sports" is how he described his mission for Spring.
He spared the runway this season, and the company's energies were focused instead on its London store opening, which matched the gargantuan flagship with an equally epic event: one that shut down New Bond Street for a motorcycle parade and the debut of David Beckham as the new campaign face. But the showroom turned out to be a fine place to see up close the way he's softening the Belstaff signatures for women. Iconic styles like the Roadmaster jacket were remade in floaty viscose, and dolled up with a peplum at the waist, or elongated into swingy summer coats. Leather, always a staple, was to be found here as well, but softened and perforated for warm-weather wear. One sweet shift was grommeted, for a motor sports touch with a light hand. That seems the right balance. There were pieces, like a tiered mesh flounce dress, that recalled Alaïa as much as any racer. Meanwhile, there are categories where moto really works, like denim, that Belstaff is continuing to capitalize upon. That should also continue to broaden its appeal—though, for the unapologetic fan of ultra-luxe, there's the relief (if that's the word) of knowing the jackets come in a full python version, too.