It’s a skin thing

Wednesday 22 February 2012


Report by David Hayes
Photography by Anna Bauer

A cinched-in leather skirt suit with full sheepskin sleeves at McQ; a lilac leopard-print leather coat at Christopher Kane (below); wide black leather trousers topped off with a shaggy coat at Mulberry; a brocade-lined white and red leather evening dress at Osman: London Fashion Week has turned all carnivore this season and developed a taste for what you could reasonably call “high protein” dressing.

“There has certainly been a lot of leather on show,” says Matches International Womenswear Buyer Natalie Kingham of the Atkins approach. “But a lot of it has been textured or printed and doesn’t always look like leather. I do think you can wear a full leather outfit, but only if the pieces feature different colours or textures.”

Oh, controversial: the top-to-toe look can be a bit rich for some palates – the fashion equivalent of steak tartare topped with foie gras and a side order of scrambled eggs. “A full leather look is a no-no in my book,” says InStyle Senior Fashion Editor Natalie Hartley. “But I do love a pair of leather trousers. Leather can be sexy, but it is all about the type of leather and the cut.”

Whatever your views on leather etiquette, there is no denying that designers see it as a sure-fire seller.

“Leather suits and coats do really well for us,” says April Glassborow, Head of Buying Womenswear at Harvey Nichols. “And leather leggings fly out of the store. But not all leather works: something like a leather skirt doesn’t have the same universal appeal as a leather jacket, which will always have more fashion longevity.”

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