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Belstaff SS17 Collection: Across The Wilderness
On Sunday 18th September Belstaff Unveiled Its Spring Summer ’17 Collection To The Press, Buyers And Fashion Insiders In Neoclassical Landmark Victoria House, Bloomsbury.
The SS17 collection celebrates the centennial anniversary of an epic 5,500-mile motorcycle journey across America by Augusta and Adeline Van Buren. These two fearless sisters campaigned for the right of women to serve in the US armed forces as messengers and dispatch riders, and ultimately helped pave the way for the female vote. Only 24 and 22 years old respectively, they were the first women to ride coast-to-coast and were instrumental in empowering and inspiring women all over the world.
This collection draws upon the military and moto-style apparel they wore on the ride, while also referencing the dramatic and various landscapes they came across through colour and texture, and more feminine silhouettes.
“This season we were really taken by the legacy of the Van Burens. They are an extraordinary example of female pioneering - the fact that this year marks 100 years since their trans-American trip really brings home how progressive they were for the time. We wanted to tap into such force of nature, expressing their strength and femininity through the clothes, for instance the delicate silk and flowing dresses combined with the harder leather pieces,” explains Delphine Ninous, Belstaff Collection Creative Director.
Belstaff has included four looks from the Men’s SS17 collection which reflect the women’s theme: soft bleached-out pieces are incorporated with harder moto-inspired elements in the leathers and the graphic motifs.
To recreate the mood of the sisters’ journey and the vast American wilderness that they crossed, models are positioned in front of panels showing evocative deserted plains by renowned landscape photographer Joe De Kadt.
Gavin Haig, Belstaff CEO said: “Belstaff has always attracted and dressed daring and independent characters with a yearning to venture free - testing both theirs and the brand’s limits. The Van Buren sisters are a perfect example of this spirit, and this collection they’ve inspired delivers on the brand’s key attributes: protection, function and style – without compromising on femininity.”
Belstaff was founded a few years after the Van Burens’ ride in a climate of unparalleled change for women. The brand has always appealed to strong groundbreaking females throughout its 92 year history, from the pioneering aviatrixes Amelia Earhart and Amy Johnson in the 20s and 30s, via Gracie Fields during WWII, to more recent ambassadors Kate Moss and Liv Tyler. In the years after their ride, Adeline Van Buren gained a law degree from New York University (unusual for women at that time) and went on to become an educator, and Augusta became a pilot, flying in Amelia Earhart's Ninety-Nines (her international women's flying organisation) both having played significant roles in the women’s rights movement.
Erin Sills (19-time World and National landspeed record holder and 2-time Guinness World Record holder, 2014 AMA Female Athlete of The Year, founder of the sheEmoto Award for women, lifetime member of the Bonneville 200 MPH Club, El Mirage 200 MPH Club, BUB 201 MPH Club and a Facebook Exec) led this summer’s Sisters Centennial bike ride, retracing the route that Augusta and Adeline took 100 years ago. Had she not been breaking records on the salt flats of Bonneville this week, she would have been in London to support Belstaff’s collection launch. She said "Women today simply wouldn't have the amazing opportunities we do if not for those generations who blazed the trail before us. I couldn't be more honored to follow in their tire tracks across America on the Sisters Centennial Ride."