London Collections:Men Belstaff
Despite what you might have read, London Collections: Men is not the first men’s fashion week for London, but it is possibly the most high-profile one. Press coverage, rather than increased sales of menswear collections, seems to be the aim of the whole endeavour, but even a cynic like myself is happy to admit the three days have been organised very well by the British Fashion Council. On my next few blogs, I will share some thoughts about the shows and presentations I have attended.
Goodwood Sports & Racing Collection by Belstaff
First stop on the first day was a private club in Shepherd’s Market to view the Goodwood Sports & Racing Collection by Belstaff. The British brand, which was formed in 1924, was acquired by American businessman Harry Slatkin and the Labelux Group in the summer of 2011 and shortly afterwards Martin Cooper, who had been with Burberry for 16 years, was appointed chief creative officer.
This new sub-collection is a collaboration with this agreeable chap, Charles Henry Gordon Lennox, Earl of March & Kinrara, who is the man behind the Festival of Speed and much more at his ancestral home, Goodwood. The range is at its strongest when it most closely sticks to the motorcycling classics Belstaff was known for. It makes good use of the earl’s tartan in a number of garments.
An impressive line-up of vintage British motorbikes greeted guests, although some of the young models in the waxed cotton trial coats didn’t look old enough to have a bike licence. (Older models were in short supply throughout the week, by the way…)
A more convincing biker in attendance was the 79-year-old Sammy Miller. Among his many achievements on two wheels, he was British Trials Champion 11 times during the 50s, 60s and 70s. Today he is as bright as a button and shows a fine penchant for mixing his jacket and shirt checks. He is seen here with Harry Slatkin, who is in Belstaff, of course.
On my way out I snapped the genial and enthusiastic Harry with Tommy Hilfiger. I was able to remind dapper Mr H that I remember him opening his very small first UK shop in South Molton Street way back in the early 1980s. He reckoned it was 1985. It didn’t last long, but it all turned out OK for him in the end. Let’s hope he has plenty of advice for Harry as Belstaff deserves to be a success too.
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