Belstaff Celebrates Its Relaunch in London
Belstaff has undergone a reorientation of sorts since changing hands in June, and the motorsports-inflected heritage brand shifted into high gear last night with a spirited party at Mark's Club, the late, legendary London restaurateur Mark Birley's private club just off Berkeley Square. Inside the Mayfair town house, guests sipped Champagne surrounded by portraits of dogs and horses, tuxedoed waiters shuttled shepherd's pie and bacon sandwiches up to the likes of Poppy Delevingne and Tallulah Harlech, and most everyone in the place tried to get a word in with co-hosts the Earl of March and the Earl of Mornington. (The latter happens to be next in line to be the Duke of Wellington.) In the words of Belstaff's new CEO, Harry Slatkin, "I guess this officially makes us British."
"Again," he might have added. Since acquiring Belstaff from the Malenotti family, Labelux has been steering the 1924 brand back to its roots. That's meant many trips to the archives for creative director Martin Cooper, who said he's been studying the original performance fabrics and steeping himself in a time when "you had English aristocrats buying motorbikes and open-cockpit airplanes as toys." Cooper is also working on a lower-priced capsule collection with the Earl of March, whose country estate, Goodwood, is the site of one of the country's major classic-car races.
If the size of the crowd was any measure, it's a revamp everyone wants to be a part of. Squeezing into the second-floor parlor, Eddie Spencer-Churchill couldn't resist teasing Lord Mornington's wife, Jemma Kidd, for inviting him to a standing-up dinner party with "a thousand of her closest friends." The Countess shooed him off, as if to say: different occasion, different speed.