British luxury brand Belstaff is paying a record £3m for a new store on Bond Street in London as the upmarket street cements its position as a shopping destination for wealthy tourists.
Property experts said Belstaff – which is worn by celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp and Victoria Beckham – had set a “record” for the highest rent paid on Bond Street for a new open market letting. The brand, part of the Labelux group that also owns Jimmy Choo, has taken a 20-year lease on the entire six storey building, which is to be renamed “Belstaff House”. The retail space totals 25,000 sq ft and the store’s neighbours will include high-end fashion brands including Miu Miu and Fendi.
While high street chains on nearby Oxford Street struggle, sales in the luxury sector have remained buoyant thanks to the influx of high-spending tourists from fast-growing economies such as China. “This letting demonstrates the demand from global luxury brands for major flagship stores on Bond Street,” said Charlie Hammond of property firm HDG, which manages the asset on behalf of a private investor. “It also highlights the sustained importance of Bond Street to the luxury sector and its continued buoyancy.”
Belstaff, which was founded in Longton, near Stoke-on-Trent, in 1924, originally produced heavy-duty clothing for motorcyclists and lays claim to making the world’s first waxed cotton jackets. At one time it produced more than 80,000 jackets a year, which were worn by bikers the world over, including the late Steve McQueen, star of The Great Escape. The label also provided clothing for Lawrence of Arabia, with Peter O’Toole as Lawrence dying on his motorbike wearing a Belstaff jacket.
Until last year the company was owned by the Malenotti family, which has ties to both the motorbike and film industries: it was being run by Franco Malenotti, a motorbike designer and champion rider, while his father Maleno was a film producer and a peer of Federico Fellini. As a result of its ownership the clothes were being made Italy but Labelux is returning Belstaff to its English roots. “The brand started in England,” said its chief executive Harry Slatkin in a weekend interview with the Independent. “When it was bought by Italians [in the 1990s], it started to lose its way and lose its language. We wanted to make a firm commitment that it is back in England and that we’re proud to be an English brand.” The fashion brand has also enlisted fashion guru Tommy Hilfiger as an investor and consultant.
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