There was an era in human history when you'd no sooner look for tweed and flounce skirts at Belstaff
than you would for steel-toed boots at Chanel. That time's not this one. The current Belstaff revival continues to make a case that the broad strokes of moto-fetishism can work for womenswear as well as for menswear, and that the hard edges of aerodynamic biker jackets are strong enough to survive a little softening. Literally. The Pre-Fall collection designer Martin Cooper showed was as soft and rounded as any he's ever shown, from the relaxed trousers to the round-shouldered, chunky knits. They came in black-and-white tweeds and lacquered checks—more graphic than anything Cooper has yet attempted. Skirt lengths got shorter, boots got higher: All in all, a flirty, more gamine take on Belstaff, not too dissimilar, in this way, from Cooper's Spring '13 collection. It was sweet, with plenty—especially those knits—to keep registers ringing.
The possible downside is that as Belstaff tiptoes away from its moto raison d'être it may begin to blend in to the designer crowd. Still, cross-pollination is the way fashion lives now—just ask Chanel, where some seasons you can get a work boot (admittedly sans steel toe). And Belstaff never ventures too far afield from its heritage. The latest element of its retrenchment, in fact, is repatriation: After a few seasons showing womenswear in New York, and sitting out last Spring, Cooper revealed that the Fall '14 women's show will be staged in Belstaff's native capital: London.