Belstaff Marks 75 Years Of The Trialmaster Jacket With A Trio Of New Releases
The iconic jacket gets a limited-edition makeover that celebrates the iconic design’s past, present, and future.
The year was 1948; the setting was the Scottish Highlands. The Six Days Trial, a grueling motorcycle competition first held in 1909, was about to hold its second instalment since the interruption of World War II put the annual event on a seven-year hiatus. As they mounted their bikes, participants may have been seen wearing a short, belted jacket crafted from wind and water-resistant waxed cotton: the Belstaff Trialmaster, which had been introduced that very year to withstand the rigours of off-road motorcycle racing.
Now, 75 years later, the Trialmaster is still going strong (as is the Scottish Six Days Trial, now considered the oldest motorcycle rally in the world). To mark the occasion, Belstaff is releasing three new interpretations of its most famous creation, which will be limited to 100 pieces each and become available at Belstaff.com starting April 27.
“A truly iconic jacket, the Trialmaster is one of our longest serving garments, and at 75 years it is something to be celebrated,” Belstaff creative director Sean Moore tells Robb Report. “It is the life, spirit, and definition of Belstaff itself.”
The new designs, dubbed the Trialmaster Tribute, the Trialmaster 75 Edition, and the Trialmaster Concept, will respectively reflect the past, present, and future of the racing-inspired jacket. All three express the Trialmaster’s timeline in different ways, and each will be accompanied by a limited-edition anniversary pin badge.
To inform the design process, Belstaff’s team consulted the company archives which were established in the late 1990s and encompass 500 jackets, accessories, and other ephemera. A review of those archives—which contain Trialmasters dating to the 1950s, ‘60s, ‘70s, and up until the present decade—also revealed how little the garment, introduced four years before the reign of Queen Elizabeth II, has changed.
Throughout its long history, the Trialmaster has consistently displayed practical features such as a buckled throat latch, reinforced shoulders and elbow patches, an adjustable belted waist, and four bellows pockets—one of which is slanted at an angle to allow seated riders to access any maps stored within.
“There have been some tweaks to fabric, fit, and function to bring it in line with today, but it is still faithful to its ancestor,” Moore says of the style’s evolution.
Intended as a nod to the Trialmasters of the 1950s, the Trialmaster Tribute has a shorter length, a boxier fit, and an angled map pocket that is larger than contemporary models. It is crafted from resin-coated cotton, a material selected for its resemblance to heavily patinated waxed cotton. Similarly, its checked lining has been dyed to create a vintage effect. It also features a snap-in melton wool liner with herringbone binding.
Meanwhile, the Trialmaster 75 Edition hones in on the style’s signature blue check lining and expands it by including a similarly shaded quilted liner. In addition, the black waxed cotton jacket also features blue corduroy trim at the inside collar, cuffs and facing, and infuses the jacket’s identifiable branding with the same hue.
Lastly, the Trialmaster Concept looks forward with a semi-transparent outer shell made from water-repellent taffeta that remains functional while playing the visual trick of revealing the checked lining underneath. But true to its roots, it features an oversized map pocket much like the Trialmasters of old.
As to whether the Trialmaster Concept might accurately represent the jacket’s future design trajectory, we’d advise readers to check back in in 2098, when Belstaff will doubtlessly be celebrating the style’s 150th.
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