September 24, 2006
Belstaff, the 82-year-old company first known for its waterproof, waxed-cotton motorcycle gear and more recently championed by Hollywood costume designers, took a wrong turn this season. The program notes touted technological innovations, from heat-retaining transparent microfiber to a waterproof silk-and-linen blend, but in practice these were clothes designed less for leisure sports than for luring members of the opposite sex. This tough-chic line has always had a certain sex appeal, but its attraction lies in being effortless, not blatant. Here, Belstaff's traditional outerwear was deconstructed into halter dresses and skimpy, snap-covered overalls pieced together like jigsaw puzzles. Sheer nylon, meanwhile, was cut into a long-sleeved jumpsuit and a robe cover-up, and worn over fetishy swimsuits with crisscross straps. Maybe it was the late hourthe show started after 10 p.m. due to daylong rain and traffic delaysbut more than one editor wondered aloud if the audience had inadvertently stepped into a strip club. However, a few sharp-looking pieces built on the brand's strengths: notably the brightly color-blocked motorcycle jackets, cropped or hip-length and belted, that closed the show.