There were airplanes on Dan Lywood’s soundtrack for the Belstaff presentation. Amelia Earhart was a reference, and accents of blue and off-white suggested sky and clouds, but newly appointed women’s creative director Delphine Ninous was insistent that this wasn’t another one of those “daredevils ♥ Belstaff” collections. Instead, she wanted to convey the freedom and independence of the pioneer spirit. “What the modern woman is,” Ninous said definitively.

But for that definition, she’d closed in on the Belstaff man, he who would be Brando or McQueen in his biker, bomber, or peacoat. “The heritage is strong for men, but a woman’s journey is different, more personal,” Ninous insisted. So, for all the hand-waxed leathers, aviator jumpsuits, and iconic Roadmasters, there was something gentle inside: maybe a silk blouse, a cosseting shearling, or a fur collar. Combat-booted strength was definitely Ninous’ priority—even the knitwear had attitude—but then she used bouclé for coats because it was lighter, easier for a woman’s body. And the coats were reassuringly wrapped, almost like kimonos. It was that kind of touch that spoke to Ninous’ track record—most recently at Paul & Joe, but before that at Isabel Marant, where masculine and feminine have synthesized into one of the most successful fashion statements of recent years.

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