Jackets required

Special to The Times

AFTER Italian-based brand Belstaff was founded in the 1920s, it built a reputation on supplying rough-and-tumble protective clothing to bikers, aviators and soldiers. These days, it's perhaps best known for supplying Hollywood with cool looks. Creative director Manuele Malenotti and his team of artisans have crafted some of the most memorable jackets to appear on screen lately, working with such Oscar-winning costume designers as Sandy Powell and Colleen Atwood. "They're looking for quality and authenticity," Malenotti says. "There's 80 years of history with Belstaff." Some of the latest designs:

* In the upcoming sci-fi action picture "I Am Legend," Will Smith, left, dons the Trailmaster, a wax-cotton motorcycle jacket originally created in the 1960s, and one favored by Steve McQueen.

* Jude Law, below left, sports a Sammy Miller jacket in "Breaking and Entering," a tale of intertwined lives directed by Anthony Minghella. The garment -- made from wax cotton, the same material used in sails -- is a riff on what motorcycling champion Miller wore in the 1960s.

* An arctic parka with fox fur trim kept Kevin Spacey cozy in "Superman Returns." The jacket is cut from a cloth dubbed Delta Force, a material used in Navy Seal uniforms. Malenotti says costume designer Louise Mingenbach liked it because most parkas are rigid and shapeless, but this one shows off the body.

* Reese Witherspoon goes for biker-chick chic in "Penelope," a contemporary fable co-produced by the actress' Type A Films, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival. Malenotti custom designed a cropped Aviator Blouson jacket for Witherspoon's character using leather and wool, an atypical combination for the company.

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