A chic fix—the transformative power of the statement belt
In this story, originally published on the Sonia Petroff website – Maria Leoni Sceti considers the appeal of one of fashion’s most enduring accessories–and the possibilities it offers those wishing to shop and dress more mindfully.
When it comes to accessories, few are as dependable as the belt at transforming an outfit. A beautifully hand-crafted belt has the power to elevate a look into something chic and pulled- together, whether you’re opting for dressed-down vintage denim or a cinched-in kaftan for dining out on holiday. Small enough to stow inside a handbag, statement belts offer an ingenious outfit tweak for after-work drinks, dinners or an evening at the theatre. It’s no wonder they’re such an important part of our sartorial arsenal.
Chloe Sevigny, whose enduring eye for detail makes her particularly wise to the power of accessorising, has said: “The key is often to dress up inexpensive basics with accessories. Something like a beautiful designer bag or belt can make everything else look richer and more luxurious.” We couldn’t agree more, and now that we’re shopping more mindfully for environmental reasons, we’re looking for clever ways of reimagining the clothes we already own. Deep down, we know that we often overlook once-loved items in our wardrobes that could easily be given a new lease of life with simple, joyful accessories.
For us, a statement belt that moves seamlessly between more casual and formal outfits is one such solution. It’s why designer Maria Leoni-Sceti draws on Sonia Petroff’s rich archive of luxury belts, working with artisans in Arezzo, Tuscany to refine her original designs to make contemporary accessories classic enough for wearing over years to come, and even passing down across the generations.
We take a look at four of our classic statement designs…
Crafted from Italian leather from just outside of Florence and striking onyx-tone crescents, the Aries belt takes its name from the four gold-tone rams heads featured at the buckle. Style it over a classic white T-shirt and mini skirt, or cleverly cinched over a blazer.
Crafted from Italian leather from just outside of Florence and striking onyx-tone crescents, Like so many of the designs from Sonia Petroff’s archive, the Manta takes its inspiration from the creatures of the sea—the diamond-shaped buckles are informed by the graceful silhouette of manta rays. This vintage style is embossed with faux red carnelian and brown scapolite cabochon, with moss green silk-finish cords designed to complement a range of colour combinations.
Take a closer look, and you’ll notice that the silver-tone curves on this belt are actually swan heads. An original Sonia Petroff design, it has been modernised with gold-tone, turquoise and black stones that are just as suited to styling with denim as with a leather midi and an artfully-tucked sweater.
With its five oval shape shields, handworked in Tuscany, the vintage-inspired Shield calls to mind the chunky statement belts worn throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s to elevate an evening dress into a memorably glamorous look. Here, the burnished brown rope twists offer a versatility, making this a belt that can be worn over a crisp tunic or vintage denim for more laid back occasions.