Now Trending: Luxe LeatherPosted by Julia Neel
Ah, leather: domain of rebels, tough girls, dominatrixes and goths. It’s having a big moment this autumn/winter 2012. Big. This is Leather 2.0, and it’s so much more than a leather jacket.
You know something’s up when Valentino, home of the world’s prettiest (and often girliest) dresses, opens its show with eight leather looks. Gone were last season’s rose-embroidered gossamer layers, here were dresses, jumpsuits, skirts, capes and jackets in the softest black leather that flowed with all the elegance of silk. Designers Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli made leather feminine by putting it to work in their now-signature lady-like shapes, and softened the edges with crafty hand stitching.
At Calvin Klein, the dresses were more structural, with panels creating a structured fit and gentle A-line flare. Meanwhile, at Loewe, butter-soft black leather (a bit of a house trademark, really), was turned into a dress with conservative proportions that was gathered into tucks at the waist.
Designers played with skins, moulding it, embossing it, perforating it, quilting and embroidering it. Alber Elbaz at Lanvin reshaped his models’ bodies with rounded shoulders and exaggerated tailoring that sculpted waists and hips (ok, he used wool coated to look like leather, but the effect remained the same). This was a theme that was picked up at Fendi, too, where Lagerfeld also played with proportions on a croc-embossed dress with ponyskin sleeves.
As for trousers, forget spray-on, skin-tight, Rod Stewart versions. This season, things are a little more relaxed, with softer shapes boasting a little more drape. Diesel Black Gold’s were slung low on the waist, and Gucci’s were jodhpur-like in their construction and came tucked into shiny black knee-high boots.
But as a seasonal piece that you will wear, like, forever, invest in a leather coat. Don’t be put off by Matrix flashbacks and memories of pushy salesmen in Italian markets, this season’s leather coats are grown-up, glamorous, polished and very sexy. Case in point: Joan Smalls on the Alberta Ferretti catwalk in a slim-fitting, round-neck coat. There was a thin belt around her waist, giving her a Gestapo-like air of dominance. Add sheer black tights and the look is immediately subversively hot.
Have a bit of a thing for goth glamour? Now’s your chance to experiment – at Gucci and Givenchy, plummy lips added an undead appeal (in a good way). Otherwise, make like the Valentino girls and stick to feminine hair, lightly smudgy eyes and just-kissed lips.
Over black? Go for oxblood red, navy blue or bottle green instead.
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