Leather products report
Quality remains the watchword at the Première Vision Leather show, both in terms of the materials on offer as well as the prestige of its visitors. But there is no resting on laurels – this quality is constantly monitored and there is also a pronounced impetus for offering new products. Bovine, ovine, caprinae and exotic leathers all vied with each other to demonstrate new capacities and impress visitors. Ecology is now fully incorporated into the tanning industry and forms an integral part of this drive for quality that is the core concern for professionals, suppliers and buyers alike, and a priority in their investments. It is thanks to the stability of prices, which is the result of strong demand and a prosperous luxury sector, that this policy of excellence is made possible.
Products and finishes: this season’s hits
“Our clients ask us for new products but they often end up reassuring themselves with the classics,” declares an exhibitor. A phrase which aptly sums up the spirit of the season, oriented towards top-of-the-range products and caution with regards to a changeable economic climate.
Dipped lamb in its most authentic format thus remains a model of quality and a leader in terms of demand. For clothing, obviously – although if possible it should be ultra-light, like the ‘foulard’ leather produced by Alric, a prize-winner at the PV Awards – but also for footwear, particularly sneakers as well as for leathergoods with a showerproof treatment. Some trendsetting finishes were also popular, such as matt tones with a rubbery texture, shiny leather with an oily texture, perforations, laser printing or washable nubuck
BOPELL / IT
INDUSTRIE PELLAMI / IT
Sheepskin is still an essential for winter, despite the fact that the Russian market, which is normally a big fan of this product, is somewhat muted at the moment. The trend is for longer, curly hair, but with a nappa rather than suede finish, according to La Doma.
Goat leather is currently most appreciated in waxed matt finishes. But in contrast, some visitors were asking for high shine finishes for leather goods.
In terms of bovine leather, smooth and natural calf is as popular as ever. But suede items from Bonaudo were very much in demand, as was young calf for its softness. Bull leather was appreciated in a drummed version, sometimes grainy with a slightly shiny peak on the grain, sometimes smooth and thick, with a rounded texture.
SOYDAN / TR
CONCERIA SUPERIOR / IT
Nubuck, metallic or silver finishes for vachetta stood out this season, as did the spiky finish with micro cut-outs from Curtidos Requena.
CUIR DE LAGNY / FR
CONCERIA VIGNOLA / IT
But the vegetable tanned option, which is natural and without any finish is still very popular, “particularly sides in 2mm thickness”, commented the Swedish specialist, Tarnsjo.
For exotic leathers, we note that the double finish from Novalpina (two different finishes on the same skin) was quite rightly remarked upon, whilst Sibel showed that python proves to be a good alternative to crocodile for labels wishing to break into the luxury sector, especially when depigmented and hand painted.
ITALHIDE / IT
Strong brand identities mean that buyers rarely choose a pre-established standard colour but ask tanners to produce materials in their own preferred shades. Nevertheless, their reactions to the colour ranges offered by exhibitors gave some indications about their colour preferences and their future orders. Black and grey are, of course, inevitable, but the latter is present in lighter shades, despite the fact that winter hues tend to be dark. Burgundy remains a classic for the colder seasons, as does forest green. Naturals like cognac, fawn, brown and beige remain popular.
CONCERIA SUPERIOR / IT
But this warm palette could well see the addition of a range of blues, in greyish, bleached, verdigris, navy and electric tones; this is more unexpected.
PAOLETTI TESSUTI / IT
Projects and developments
“We want to innovate but maintain our standard of quality,” is the summary from Bonaudo. All those we asked share the same objective: to improve existing articles as much as possible. Make dipped lamb even softer and lighter, smooth calf leather more transparent with an even finer grain, suedes more shimmery. The aged appearances of the vintage trend are clearly no longer in demand. Relma Guyard & Chesneau want to soften their goat leathers to make them suitable for clothing. Alric want to develop the very elitist baby calf, “where there is great potential for footwear and leather goods”. Whilst the Dupire tannery seeks to broaden their range of supple grained bull, but also produce a stiffer, non-drummed leather ideal for allowing a stitch and return finish. Tarnsjo is experimenting with all sorts of waxes on vegetable tanned bovine leathers to multiply the palette of shines. And in light of the success of stretch skins, a number of tanners are thinking of taking the plunge, such as RG Deri and even Sibel, with even more adaptable pythons.
Brands are increasingly making mention of this topic and the question of ecology is becoming crucial for tanneries, although they had always taken this aspect into consideration in their processes. Dechroming plants are systematic; “nothing is released into the environment” Alric tells us. All the tanneries follow the regulations to the letter, the REACH standard in particular. Many tanners have developed chrome-free articles and many would like to move to “metal-free”. “Our skins are tanned with vegetable products and the sludge is then used as fertiliser”, our contact at Relma Guyard & Chesneau tell us. “We buy our hides in slaughterhouses in Spain which are very strictly controlled”, our contact from the Richard tannery tells us, before adding: “if the conditions under which the animals are slaughtered were not good, the skins would be less beautiful.”
The entire manufacturing chain is currently being examined with regards to sustainable development. Energy consumption is being reduced with the use of more economical boilers, improved insulation the natural ventilation of premises, using natural light and electricity provided by solar panels. Transport is rationalised to reduce the carbon footprint of skins. “Our entire production chain is ecological, apart from the import of mimosa which we use for the tanning”, says the manager of the Tarnsjo tannery. “We are currently testing other tannins grown in Sweden.”