Meet Delphine Ninous: The Woman Reinventing Menswear

ELLE sat down with Belstaff's new creative director

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You might not recognise the name Delphine Ninous, but you will certainly know her work. Well, that's if you're a fan of the high end. The French designer has sprinkled her magic over designs at Isabel Marant, Diane Von Furstenberg and Comptoir des Cotonniers.

Three years ago, she joined British heritage brand Belstaff and last July was named Creative Director. Impressed? Us too. But her meteoric rise doesn't give way to slacking, mind. Ninous has a very specific goal: to turn the classic menswear label into a thoroughly modern brand. ELLE caught up with the designer to chat muses, motherhood and injecting some much-needed femininity into the brand.

Delphine Ninous
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What made you want to join Belstaff?

I was attracted by the challenge to build the women's business in a brand which known for its menswear. It was also the great opportunity to work for a brand with a rich 90+ year history and I have been given a chance to modernise the vision. I have always loved working on outerwear, for me it makes the look and gives the attitude to a silhouette. You can change a look with a key outerwear piece.

What do you want to bring to Belstaff?

Modernity, something innovative and relevant for the women of today. I want to blend stylish pieces with functionality. Something that lasts you beyond one season.

What's the most unexpected material you have worked with?

Working with wax cotton was something I hadn't done before. It's a process that is very specific to England. We still work with the same factory to hand wax our cotton to give it its water resistant and wind proof properties. It's a very adaptable material, now I'm used to working with it.

How do you plan to reinvent Belstaff? What's your big, bold vision for the brand?

Belstaff has always been about great functional products and quality outerwear but for 2017 I want to ensure it is stylish and edgy and appeals to our global consumer. Leather is key to keeping this edgy attitude. Our ambassador Liv Tyler is doing great things and she's another way we can push the brand and bring something new for our customer. It was fun collaborating with her on her co designed capsules collections.

What's one heritage piece you would wear every day?

I wear the MarvingT, a leather biker jacket almost every day. It's like a second skin for me. I also wear the rider coat. I love the length, it's a bit oversized, very stylish and perfect for British weather which is so changeable.

Which look are you going to take away from the new collection?

The leather 'Indonna' jacket, which is super versatile. And the ripped denim jeans will probably also become part of my everyday wardrobe.

What do you do to relax after designing a new collection?

Designing is never ending, really, so I don't actually have that much spare time. Designing is also only one part of the job of being a Creative Director. I became a mother last year so I will make sure I take some time in August to go back to France with my family.

If you could dress any woman who would it be?

Charlotte Gainsbourg. I love her masculine/feminine look. I grew up listening and admiring her family Serge and Jane. They are a big influence for me.

Who is your ultimate Belstaff muse?

Patti Smith. In a similar way to Charlotte, I love her masculine/ feminine cool style. I also love her music and her poetry.

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