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BELSTAFF X McLAREN
What makes collaboration work? It’s a difficult question to answer. There certainly needs to be an alignment of vision, and the combination of talents has to spark in order to illuminate something that would otherwise remain hidden. Mostly though, the end product has to stand up. It has to be the result of a successful synthesis rather than simply the sum of its parts.
Belstaff and McLaren might, to some, not seem the most obvious of partnerships, but “obvious” rarely leads to “extraordinary”, and when creating this collaborative capsule of driver-inspired clothing, extraordinary is exactly what we wanted.
To us, it always felt a very natural fit: two iconic British brands, with global profiles and a shared belief in the importance of innovation and design – and innovation in design.
With this shared belief came shared values, and it was crucial that we stayed true to these, from the big picture right down to the fine detail – even in the naming of the range. Individual ID plates are features of both brands, from Trialmaster jackets to road-ready race cars so, to underscore this similarity, we decided to take inspiration from McLaren’s product naming conventions. It’s just one component of the considered approach that runs through each and every piece.
Design x Innovation
The result is a collection in which clean lines and simple silhouettes allow innovative detail to subtly define. Take the leather driving jacket (950.S001/S101) for example. Crafted from supple lambskin for comfort, there is also freedom of movement offered by the low-profile neck and underarm stretch panels, while the padded shoulder detail is designed with seatbelts in mind. It is exactly this thought-through integrity that applies across the styles, and showcases an impressive coherence to the capsule.
Authenticity x Engineering
Authenticity and engineering were also key to the project, which features some familiar shapes reinvented using contemporary concepts and ingenious construction. The classic Harrington jacket (850.S003) is a case in point – just one of the innovative pieces to employ laser-perforated ventilation to regulate temperature.
Staying similarly true to form is the four-pocket silhouette of the men’s field jacket (850.S002) along with the women’s parka (850.S102), in the subtle, simple colours that bind the collection. Both come with detachable hoods that can be easily stowed away in the garments’ enviable storage. Once again intelligently incorporated features – invisible card pockets and, for the women’s parka, laser-cut concealed pockets, combine purpose with exquisitely engineered design.
Style x Performance
The lightweight driving jacket (850.S001/S101), shares much of its genetics with its leather cousin, a stretch nylon construction offering the additional versatility of either mid- or outer-layer wear. The hidden, deft detail of the complementary lightweight stretch nylon trouser (550.S001) comes in the form of cleverly concealed cargo pockets, designed to lie invisibly along the elegant line of these slim-fit trousers, while the covered placket and button-down collars of the stretch poplin shirt (450.S001) provide yet another example of function gently whirring away under the hood.
The same is equally true of the convertible collar on the tailored jacket (750.S001), which transforms the personality of this utility piece and, in doing so, reveals a previously hidden tilted zip pocket. It is this attention to detail that ensures performance never obscures style. It helps to determine it instead.
In fact, the collection as a whole can be seen as a study of how the needs of performance influence the mechanics of design. It’s a collaboration that brings beauty to purpose and function to style in clothes that can be worn whenever and wherever, with a practical, modern aesthetic that is never stuffy, always stylish.