Belstaff names James Norton brand ambassador, opens in New York
Belstaff had plenty of news to share this week with the company having announced a new brand “ambassador and creative collaborator” via the signing of actor James Norton.
Importantly too, it has also just opened a New York store in the heart of the Meatpacking District with the opening marking a return to the city for the British luxury brand. The 2,000 sq ft space on Gansevoort Street is a key development for the label that exited its previous NYC location (on Madison Avenue) last year.
Looking at the James Norton news first, the Grantchester, War & Peace and Little Women star had already appeared on Belstaff’s The Road Less Travelled podcast series earlier this year, and the company said “it was clear that the actor’s quintessential Britishness would be a natural fit”.
Norton will also feature in Belstaff’s AW20 campaign that was shot on the Jurassic Coast in Dorset, England, by photographer Blair Getz Mezibov. It also includes reportage images by Cat Garcia, in which we see the actor starting a journey “that will build through the seasons to come”.
And as well as Norton being the face of the brand for the AW season, the links between the two will continue into Spring 2021 with the release of limited-edition jackets, co-designed by Norton and by Belstaff’s Creative Director Sean Lehnhardt-Moore.
It’s a powerful connection for the brand with Norton’s increasing international profile set to be boosted by a number of upcoming projects. They include starring in Things I Heard, The Nevers, Chasing Agent Freegard and Nowhere Special. These are all set to premiere next year and should keep the actor (and with him, the brand) in the news.
Back with the New York store, the “world-first workshop concept” includes a focus on makers and creators within the community. The store “offers a unique hub for the local area in an evolution of Belstaff’s community-first retail approach”.
Central to the new offer is The Workshop, which the company said is an “always-on retail theatre that offers customers the opportunity to restore, repair, and renew their existing or just bought pieces”. Local craftsmen and women will also “modify existing Belstaff outerwear to give pieces a new lease of life in line with the brand’s long-held ‘Built for Life’ design philosophy”.
Customers will be able to design their own jacket using a new ‘Build Your Own’ service and there will be other personalisation options.
The Workshop will host a programme of community events with the first in the series being hosted by ‘Man vs Ink’, the Belstaff maker Fred DiMeglio, a designer and screen printer. Customers will be invited to create their own bandanas in-store. Sessions will be streamed and shared on Belstaff’s social channels.
To celebrate the opening Belstaff has partnered with other local artisans, craftsmen and women including Jimmy DiResta, Glenn Wolk, Aly Reinert, and Christine Rucci (Godmother NYC), who’ve customised a selection of exclusive, upcycled vintage jackets that will be on sale in-store. The launch also includes a selection of other exclusive products for the store.
The space itself takes into account the industrial heritage of the area. Hammerite green steel, blackened steel, reeded glass and gold or brass details with industrial finishes are featured throughout. Glass and timber cabinets sit alongside an antique double-bow cabinet filled with vintage motorcycle props and customised helmets. And to complement the fixtures, original Persian carpets and vintage military canvas armchairs have been added.
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