Stranded alone in the sweltering heat of the Libyan desert without food or water; French racer Thierry Sabine was close to death. After several days in unbearable conditions, Sabine did not fear for his life but became seduced by his surroundings and so he established the Paris to Dakar rally. Titled by the BBC as “the world’s craziest race,” this life-risking contest inspired Belstaff’s SS’18 collection.
On June 12, the men’s and womenswear brand presented their latest range at Somerset House for London Fashion Week Men’s. Beige coloured skirts, burnt orange leather and classically styled racing jackets hung from casually stanced models. In a rustic setting with wooden boxes and metal fans, the collection was a clear reflection of a motorcyclists challenging voyage through the sun-scorched sands.
Appointed as Creative Director of the brand in July 2016, Delphine Ninous was hired in a bid to reinvent the struggling British heritage label. Now her second season in the role, she told ELLE, “I want to blend stylish pieces with functionality and ensure it appeals to our global consumer.” Working towards a gender-neutral vision, the Spring/Summer pieces featured sports-style trousers, unisex tops and complementary outerwear.
Looking at the racers of the early 80’s era and their life-risking journeys of self-discovery Ninous relied heavily on leather to represent the “washed-out colours of the North African landscapes.” Through muted, warm tones and simple prints, the collection captured the true essence of exhilaration and adventure of rally racing.
“The collection celebrates a more graphic and bold colourful offering for the summer season,” Ninous says. “Our iconic outerwear continues to evolve, with classic silhouettes reinterpreted for the modern consumer, and new styles showcasing the modernity of the brand.” Recognised for their sound knowledge of textiles and manufacturing skills, the local label produced a relaxed, approachable and sophisticated range.