The diverse range of articles acclaimed by visitors – echoed by the abundance on display on the Trends Forum – demonstrates just how rich the show continues to be. Tanners are listening to their clients and are conscious of the inspirational role they play in their collections, and so are constantly improving and renewing their range. More finishes, more fashionable touches, more colours and more quality. Even though, at the end of the day, their classics remain their best sellers.
Ecology is also an integral part of the philosophy of tanneries, firstly by obligation but also by conviction. More often than not, they anticipate the demands of their clients to produce in a more environmentally-friendly manner. But they continue to be competitive and in step with the market.
Products and finishes: the highlights of the season
Exhibitors often find it hard to identify the best sellers of each edition. One reason is because visitors like to handle the exhibits and ask for samples, but make few firm orders at the show itself. And secondly, demand is increasingly being atomised by a quest for originality. Nevertheless, some product tendencies could be identified from this edition.
In terms of bovine hides, smooth calf leather remains a classic that is very popular with big brands. The full thickness Baranil calf leather with its greased texture was a hit with specialists. The rounded and sensual texture of vegetable-tanned leather is winning more and more fans. The matt finish seems to be preferred over shiny finishes. But laminated fashion finishes were also popular, particularly when they had been drummed and softened. Baby calf is very rare and is a real plus for luxury labels looking to stand out, particularly for clothing due to the way it drapes. Young bull leather was also appreciated, in a nubuck or sprayed metallic finish. Cow leather was popular with its natural grain. But it also took on a more or less sophisticated appearance: either accentuating its natural grain or imitating shagreen, coated with a fashionable film or embellished with a laser decoration. Here as well, the matt or waxy finish was preferred over a shiny appearance, despite a certain popularity for light mother-of-pearl finishes. Easier to work with and generating less off cuts, half-skins (strips) were a strong option, as was shoulder leather for specific uses such as belts.
Similarly in ovine leather, the natural finish remains unbeaten, with dipped leather being the ultimate for clothing as well as for bags and shoes. However, fashion was not neglected, with metallic or patent finishes as well as printed mechanical grains and digital designs. Following the example of stretch leather, washable lambskin is gaining more fans. And the transparent product from the Turkish tannery, Anil, caught the eye of more than one curious visitor.
In the caprinae sector, suede was the clear favourite, especially for use in shoes. Screen-printing on suede from BBM generated great interest. Coated in a metallic film or with two superimposed layers bringing colour, pattern and shine, goat leather won itself new fans. But it was also irresistible in its natural and soft format, like that from Tanneries Pechdo.
Lastly, in the exotic leather sector, thin and supple crocodile leather for clothing still fascinates fans of this material, whilst for shoes and leather goods, the matt finish was deemed to be a winner by the specialist, Topcroc. At Pellami Ciceri, metallic black python with a nubuck finish was a triumph, outstripping laminated skins, despite them also being very popular.
As the ultimate noble material, leather has its own range of classic colours that are very popular with a clientele that invests but also likes to enjoy themselves. Blacks, blues, browns, cognac, beige, grey and white are still considered sure-fire successes by brands.
But this is the summer season and so colours were also visible in the palettes chosen by buyers. Reds – from coral to burgundy – are very present, as is the spectrum of blues including mallard, denim, electric or turquoise.
Pale yellow and mustard add a touch of sunshine.
While the timeless shades of taupe and nude delight the more minimalist clients.
Projects and developments
In an economic context that remains favourable but still uncertain, brands tend to rely on tanneries to propose new products that will win over their versatile and demanding customers. This explains the importance of timely developments, ensuring that there are plenty of new items in future collections. Some seek to reduce the thickness of their skins, to offer ever-finer leathers. Others play with textures, to surprise and reassure at the same time. Still others work on appearance, such as Curtidos Bassols, producing lamb or goat leather that has been carved on its surface, or Anil that wishes to age the flesh side of its bovine or ovine leathers. More pragmatic, the research from the Carriat tannery looks at the underside of skins so that they could be used without needing to be lined, “by being coated in resin for example” or given a fireproof treatment so they could be used in aviation. Given the strong demand for their product, specialists in washable lamb leather want to perfect their range, while the experts in vegetable tanning, of which there are few in France, seek to play on this relative scarcity whilst enlarging their range of products.
PREMIERE VISION LEATHER