Tag Archives: Classic Motorcycle Jacket

  • Che Guevara and Belstaff's Revolutionary Waxed Jackets

    Words: Simon de Burton
    Che Guevara on a pushbike
    Gael Garcia Bernal in Motorcycle Diaries

    When the young Che Guevara set off to explore South America on two wheels, he carried few possessions, but undoubtedly one of the most important was the Belstaff waxed-cotton jacket that offered him protection from both road rash and the weather - and, very likely, served as an impromptu pillow during nights beneath the stars.

    Che's adventures with his friend Alberto Granado aboard the faithful Norton motorcycle named La Poderosa II (The Mighty One) are well documented in the 2004 biopic The Motorcycle Diaries, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, but there's a fair bit of history, too, in the humble fabric that made up the future revolutionary's outerwear.

    Waxed cotton, you see, dates back to the 19th century, when the weather-resistant properties of oil-soaked flax sails used for clipper ships showed the potential of 'proofing' cotton with linseed for use in the garment industry.
    Gael Garcia Bernal in Motorcycle Diaries
    Che Guevara on a pushbike

    However, it wasn't until the early Twenties that a few pioneering companies - Belstaff among them - perfected the art of 'waxing' cotton so it stayed waterproof for long periods, didn't discolour and remained soft and pliant in cold weather.

    The discovery was especially welcomed by the growing army of motorcyclists, not least in rain-lashed countries such as Britain, where a snug-fitting Belstaff, belted at the waist and protective of the neck, became the default choice of gear for riders who were desirous of being both practical and stylish.

    And it wasn't long before the ultimate specification that prevails today - two long breast pockets (one slanted for carrying maps); two deep side pockets; buttoned cuffs and a zipped and buttoned fastening - became what we have come to know and love as the 'Trialmaster' jacket.

    Its name derives from its popularity with motorcycle 'trials' riders, whose sport took them across windswept moors, through swollen rivers and up desolate tracks - meaning they needed a jacket that was warm, water-resistant and thornproof but also supremely comfortable, with capacious pockets.
    Belstaff Men and Women Waxed Jackets

    One such contest, the Exeter Trial, has been going since 1910 - and, being of a masochistic nature, I'm looking forward to taking part in the January (yes, freezing January) 2015 edition of this gruelling, long-distance event, which runs through the night and covers a 300-mile route using some of the West Country's most historic - and roughest - byways.

    An important part of my preparation will involve the ritual 'rewaxing' of the Belstaff Trialmaster I bought second-hand back in 1982 - and have worn ever since. It's a strangely gratifying process, partly because it restores the Trialmaster's full protective powers and partly because every application of Belstaff's special 'reproofing' wax adds another layer of patina and, somehow, a little bit of history.

    And for those who want to go the extra mile, Belstaff's latest leather garments are also designed to be maintained in the same way. Perhaps I'll treat myself to one - even if Che might have considered buying a new jacket every 33 years to be an act of bourgeois extravagance. Unless, of course, it was a Trialmaster.

    Simon de Burton writes for The Financial Times, Brummell and The Quarterly

  • Cult of Cool

    The Rise of Café Racer Style

    In the US's early post-war decades, bikers were seen as outlaws. Ever since the wildly exaggerated Hollister riots of 1947 and the birth of the self-proclaimed 'one percenters' - following a statement by the respectable American Motorcycle Association that 99 per cent of motorcycle riders were law-abiding citizens - to be clad in black leather, astride an engine and two wheels, was to mark yourself as an outsider. Hollywood - thanks to films such as The Wild One, Live Fast, Die Young and High School Hellcats - served only to drive the stereotype home.

    Yet in the UK, as with so many things, biking was a more genteel affair - the newspapers' hysterical stereotyping of its fans being in some perpetual gang warfare with scooterists aside. Come the mid-century, riders tended to like this avant-garde new American music called 'rock', which soon got them dubbed 'rockers'. But not for nothing was the 59 Club - one of the most 'notorious' of London's biker groups - co-founded by Bill Shergold, habitué by night of Ace Cafe, the city's racer mecca, and a vicar by day. Biking had, after all, been a perfectly normal and popular pursuit since the Twenties.

    If biking in the US came to a peak in the late 1950s and 1960s, particularly as an outlet for dispossessed and disaffected GIs returning from World War II, it endured as more of a shared passion in the UK, especially when it came to the lightweight 'cafe racer' machines, which facilitated a stupendous speed on the roads that only more expensive, customised machines were capable of. Certainly, despite the popular characterisation of bikers as scruffy, anti-social layabouts, it took the income of a steady job and a grasp of mechanical wizardry to be one at all.

    Indeed, older rockers might be a little perplexed by the fashion world's adoption of their style as being iconic, a fact to which Belstaff's latest collection, with its patch-covered, studded, sleeveless summer-weight leather tops and articulated trousers, coated linens, henleys and bandanas - in fact, everything but the engine oil - pays homage. For the bikers of the period, the clothes, frankly, were a passing thought, chosen for their affordability and functionality, the British climate, and lack of money, with only a lucky few able to acquire purpose-designed waxed cotton or leather jackets from the likes of Belstaff. These would be festooned with patches and pin-badges denoting rallies attended, and customized with chains, fringes and hand-painted decals to the extent that they amounted to pieces of folk art.

    Cafe Racer Style

    Yet, of course, time and fiction have conspired to re-purpose the rocker's style - the matching gleam of leathers and of a Velocette Thruxton Venom or BSA Gold Star, cut by the grime of a smeared face, affords the rider a kudos equaled only by fighter pilots. It lends a decidedly dark, stark masculine cool at that: biker style is supra-fashion, not concerned with fey trends. In reality, come the end of the Sixties, the rockers had faded away - not because of society's disapproval, but chiefly because they had grown up, started families and now needed saloon cars. But their style lived on in mythology, which has kept it revving ever since.

    Josh Sims is a fashion journalist and author of Icons Of Men's Style

  • A Biker and his White T-Shirt.

    Posts

    Strength in Simplicity:
    The White T-shirt

    Ever since Marlon Brando and James Dean burned their way both onto the big screen and into popular cultural consciousness in the early Fifties, the white t-shirt and jeans look has been synonymous with the Hollywood rebel.

    Brando came first with A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) and The Wild One (1953) before Dean confirmed the trend in Rebel Without A Cause (1955). Between them, these leading men changed the perception of what was cool.

    The plain white crew-neck t-shirt and jeans ensemble became a timeless classic, immune to the shifting tides of fashion, conferring immediate personality on its wearer without him having to do or saying anything – just as the suit does at the business end of the sartorial spectrum.

    Jeans and t-shirts are everyday casualwear now, but until the Fifties, this look was very much a working-class signifier. Only men who did manual labour – who worked on construction sites or tinkered with engines – wore denim and stripped down to reveal their undershirts. Then, in the wake of World War II, a wave of soldiers returned wearing their army-issue white t-shirts as outer garments, as a symbol of manhood, of getting things done, of strength and industry.

    Inspired by those pioneering pin-ups for a new generation, Brando and Dean, Fifties kids began to go against the prim-and-proper Sunday-best suits and dresses of their parents’ generation. For the first time dressing down was cooler than dressing up. The teenager was born – and the t-shirt was their uniform. Each tribe could interpret the blank canvas of a white tee for its own purposes. Beatniks like Jack Kerouac wore them to show their disdain for proper society – as did greasers and bikers and rock’n’rollers.

    But more than anyone, Dean was the Hollywood poster boy for this new movement, especially after his tragically early death in 1955, aged just 24. The trailer for his final film, Giant, released posthumously, calls him ‘the star who became a legend, who spoke for the restless young as no one has before or since’. That description – and all those nonchalant, defiant images of him that live on – still holds up 60 years later.

    Other icons soon followed. Elvis Presley idolised Dean, appropriating elements of his look – not least the workwear – and took up acting in an attempt to follow in his footsteps. Later, John Travolta in Grease and Henry Winkler as 'The Fonz' would also give this rock’n’roll rebel look the thumbs-up.

    US actor Steve McQueen
    US actor Steve McQueen (R) takes a break during the international motorcycle race "Six Days" at Erfurt, German Democratic republic (GDR) in 1964. McQueen rode a Triumph with the number "278". Photo: Dieter Demme/Alamy

    In 1955, the photographer Eve Arnold captured a young, enraptured up-and-comer in the Actors Studio – the only one in the audience dressed casually in jeans and white tee. His name: Paul Newman. Throughout the Sixties and Seventies, Newman and Steve McQueen were the custodians of cool. Men wanted to be them; women wanted to be with them. And almost every photograph taken of them is afforded an ageless quality by the simplicity of what they’re wearing. Their look is as fresh today as it was back then. Just ask David Beckham.

    Importantly, young women also embraced the liberating casualness of jeans and tees. Some of the most iconic and photographed stars in the world – from Grace Kelly and Brigitte Bardot to Sophia Loren and Marilyn Monroe – helped to feminise this look. And modern-era rebels such as Kate Moss and Lana Del Rey keep it alive today.

    Just as a well-cut tee can flatter the well-upholstered male frame – think Clint Eastwood in Every Which Way But Loose (1978) or Ryan Gosling in Only God Forgives (2013) – so contour-hugging cotton tucked into high-waisted jeans helps to accentuate a woman’s hourglass figure.

    The white-tee-and-jeans combo was, is and always will be a visual shorthand for free-spirited youth and rebellious cool.

  • Belstaff Partners in New Motorcycle Film.

    FILM PREVIEW:
    “THE GREASY HANDS PREACHERS”

    After a successful world premiere at the 2014 San Sebastian International Film Festival, “The Greasy Hands Preachers” makes it’s worldwide debut. Belstaff is proud partner of the documentary film, executively produced by Orlando Bloom. The film explores a modern day return to manual work through the passion of motorcycle enthusiasts around the world, shot entirely on Super 16mm.

    WATCH THE FULL FILM NOWShot across California, Utah, Indonesia, Spain, Scotland and France, filmmakers Clement Beauvais and Arthur de Kersauson capture mechanics and custom shop founders as they try to understand the difference between manual and intellectual work. “The Greasy Hands Preachers” explores the unique satisfaction that results from doing something tangible, the sense of time, the relation between the form and the function, the joy of riding in a beautiful landscape and the community and friendship that motorcycle creates. For that, Belstaff is honoured to support and represent such a passionate and free-spirited collective.

  • Belstaff Waxed Leather Tourist Trophy Jacket New for 2015

    Belstaff Tourist Trophy Jacket 2015 line lands in March.

     

     

    The iconic Tourist Trophy jacket is updated for legitimate protection on the open road, with removable elbow and shoulder protection that meets European CE safety standards for motorcycle protection. In hand-waxed bull leather with a vintage treatment, this jacket not only protects against impact but checks off your aesthetic requirements too. Wear this legendary four-pocket design, with slanted left chest pocket for easy access when on the bike, and feel the authenticity Belstaff's moto heritage accompany you on every adventure.

     

    • Removable protective inserts on shoulders & elbows D30 & pocket for additional back protector

    • Safety standards of protective inserts: European directive 89/686/CEE & CE Technical Standard EN 1621-12:2015Buckle cover to prevent scratching on bike

    • Bovine waxed leather: 1-1.1mm thickness

    • Cotton check lining

    • Zip fastening with poppered cover & waist buckle

    • Corduroy-lined stand collar with tab fastening

    • 4 storm-proof patch pockets & 1 internal pocket

    • Corduroy-lined cuffs with adjustable popper fastening

    • Underarm metal air vents

    • Reinforcements on shoulders & elbows

    • Embroidered logo to left sleeve

    • Produced in Europe

  • Belstaff Olivers Mount AKA Belstaff Leather Mojave Jacket New Design for 2015

    olivers_mount_jacket_black_T

    The Belstaff Olivers Mount jacket combines a sporty, blouson-style cut with the signature patch pockets of Belstaff heritage, in an amalgamation of essential biker design. Executed in black waxed bull leather that is naturally tanned and drum-dyed with a 1-1.1mm thickness for abrasion resistance, it also presents supreme quality for enhanced comfort. Removable reinforcements on shoulders and elbows meet the requirements of European CE safety standards and employ innovative market-leading technology for the highest quality protection.

    • Removable protective inserts on shoulders & elbows & pocket for additional back protector

    • Safety standards of protective inserts: European directive 89/686/CEE & CE Technical Standard EN 1621-12:2014Last popper in rubber & buckle cover to prevent scratching on bike

    • Bovine waxed leather: 1-1.1mm thickness

    • Removable quilted liner to body

    • Corduroy-lined stand collar with tab fastening

    • 2 storm-proof patch pockets, 2 zip pockets & 1 internal pocket

    • Corduroy-lined cuffs with adjustable popper fastening

    • Reinforcements to shoulders & elbows

    • Embroidered logo to left sleeve

    • Produced in Europe

  • Belstaff Brookland Blousant AKA Belstaff Waxed Mojave Jacket

    brooklands_jacket_black_T(1)

     

    BROOKLANDS BLOUSON

    In Signature 8 oz. Waxed Cotton
    $695

    A classic blouson cut with shorter length to the hip gives this biker jacket a sporty and signature moto feel. With a seam-sealed waterproof membrane bonded to its 8 oz. waxed cotton, a zip-out quilted liner for optional extra on-body warmth, and arm and shoulder protection that meets European CE safety standards for motorcycle protection, the Brooklands gives protection without adding weight. Iconic diamond quilting at the shoulders and elbows adds an iconic design detail that nods to Belstaff's industrial heritage.
    • Removable protective inserts on shoulders & elbows & pocket for additional back protector

    • Safety standards of protective inserts: European directive 89/686/CEE & CE Technical Standard EN 1621-12:2013   D30 Bonded membrane & heat sealed seams for waterproofing

    • Last popper in rubber & buckle cover to prevent scratching on bike

    • UK-sourced 8 oz waxed cotton

    • Zip-in removable quilted body liner

    • Zip fastening with poppered cover & waist buckle

    • Corduroy-lined stand collar with tab fastening

    • 2 storm-proof patch pockets, 2 zip pockets & 1 internal pocket

    • Corduroy-lined cuffs with adjustable popper fastening

    • Underarm metal air vents

    • Quilted reinforcements on shoulders & elbows

    • Logo patch to left sleeve

    • Produced in Europe

  • Style Martin Legend Boot added to BMG Line.

    Style Martin Legend Boot Black Style Martin Legend Boot Black
    Style Martin Legend Boot Brown Style Martin Legend Boot Brown

     

    The Stylmartin Legend R Boots combines elegant design with exceptional comfort and protection. Underneath the full grain leather lies a waterproof breathable lining combine with an internal PU malleolus protection of both sides. The Legend feature an Italian Eurosole for all-day comfort and very long wear life. These boots will look great on any classic bike and are a must-have for anyone wanting a classic look.

    Legend R are made with natural tan full grain leather. The leather will lighten with use through brushing or bending it, gaining a unique coloring with a vintage effect, which enhances the classic dark brown color.

    Features:

    • Zipper and strap fasteners
    • Anti-slip, oil proof and wear resistant sole
    • Antex breathable waterproof membrane
  • Barbour Lamswool Scarf and Gloves Gift Box

    scarf glove gift

     

    Barbour Scarf and Glove Gift Box Keep the cold at bay with this luxury gift set which includes a sumptuously soft, lambswool scarf in Barbour’s classic tartan as well as a pair of lambswool gloves which make the perfect combination. The scarf and gloves are displayed in a Barbour gift box which makes this ideal to give as a present. Goes great with Halcyon Goggles and a Barbour International Jacket for that authentic Cafe' Racer Look.    $99.00

  • Barbour Steve McQueen Rexton Jackets Just Arrived

    BArbour Rexton LinerBarbour Rexton

     

    Barbour Steve McQueen Rexton Jacket

    Olive

    The Barbour Steve McQueen range celebrates Steve's love of motorcycles, and the iconic Barbour apparel he wore while racing them for team USA in the 1960's. Based on on Barbour's original A7 International motorcycle jacket, the Rexton is made from heavyweight 8oz waxed cotton with a quilted American flag lining. the jacket is finished in authentic style with a distressed, aged effect, and a Stars and Stripes pop stud complemented by a replica of the USA team's badge from the 1964 International Six Day Trials on the opposite side.

    • 8oz Heavyweight Waxed Cotton Outer
    • Distressed Finish
    • Quilted Stars and Stripes Lining with Steve McQueen Photographic Patch
    • Two Way Zip Closure
    • Cotton Corduroy Lined Collar
    • Stand Collar with Flap Fastening
    • Two Front Flap Pockets and Two Chest Pockets
    • Interior Chest Pocket
    • 1964 ISDT American Team Flag on Chest
    • Stars and Stripes Pop Stud on Pocket
    • Adjustable Cuffs

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