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Heavy Transition Edition

11zCRITICAL1-articleLargeThis week's Thursday Styles sees Critical Shopper Jon Caramanica visiting the new Belstaff flagship on Madison Avenue, and he doesn't seem too convinced by the brand's efforts to transform itself from a pricey motorcycle jacket label to a full-on luxury brand. To put it simply, they have acquired the proper trappings, and seem to have made lots of things that are very precious and expensive, but not actually luxurious,

These clothes were luxurious but hard. They seemed designed to repel hugs. Even the softer, less ostentatious pieces — a chocolate brown suede tunic or a cropped snakeskin jacket, for example — felt as if they were designed by armor specialists.
This was a recurring theme. The pattern on several leather bags resembled a tire tread, which suits the brand’s history but perhaps not its desired future.

So, apparently, Belstaff has not quite hit its groove at the high end despite it's covetable address in the center of Madison Avenue's sweet spot. Hopefully, the brand will find some kind of refinement it needs to compete in the arena where it has placed itself without ruining the great jackets that brought it attention in the first place. Stranger things have happened.

Critical Shopper: Another Attempt at Upward Mobility By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Belstaff 814 Madison Avenue at 68th Street, Upper East Side


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