Faux leather is making a mandatory return on the autumn/winter fashion scene, but this time it is happy to shun the predictable path. While its sober side has earned a cult status, the 'luxe fabric' is on the road to discovery. And, on the way, it has found the joys of colour and the thrills of innovation.
The encouraging signals have come from seasoned minds in the business. Taking the faux leather story beyond jackets and pants, Calvin Klein and Valentino have re-introduced them as the perfect toast for cocktail wear in the form of sophisticated gowns and short evening wears, while Fendi, Diane von Furstenberg and Givenchy are endorsing structured knee length leather coats with minimal accessories.
Taking a cue from the international mood, designers Ashish Parikh of Studio Virtues is endorsing knee-length faux leather jackets for this winter.
His eyes though are set on all things shimmery.
"Crushed faux leather jackets and shimmer jackets in silver, gold and copper can add a glam factor if worn over a black dress. From faux leather shrugs, peplum to bolero jackets, all look good with smart bottoms. Also, instead of traditional zipper styles, placing them sideways add more visual interest to the jackets. Jumpsuits didn't leave the ramp in 2012, and don't be surprised if the trend continues with an all-leather jumpsuit," he says.
An interesting theme that's a runaway hit is the mix of leather and fabric. But the classics stay on, as Ashish says, "Of course if you are a follower of conventional fashion, a leather bomber jack et spells your style, season after season."
Taking the leather and fabric story further, designer Vandy Mehra says, "Leather applique patches on fabric is the flavour of the season. Using it as trimmings or full-fledged appliques is very much in vogue."
While dissecting the hide trend, the designer makes an interesting observation.
"Faux leather as a material can be used flexibly. On the colour front, while indigo and olive are the happening shades, I prefer the traditional shades of black and tan."
Designer Sunil Mehra also echoes similar thoughts, and adds, "It does have the potential to stand alone, but this year it is complementing best with cashmere and pure wool. I have used it in a subtle manner extensively in my winter creations as trims and details, with a nubuck collar or an elbow patch or a pocket or a piping or a trouser bottom turn-up. Using it across many ensembles in dif ferent ways is a sure shot way of adding some classic chic to winter. It could be worn as a separate piece to make a statement or as small little details in another to get a balance."
And if you still want to add more surprises to your leather look, then Mulberry and J Mendel serve you best.