Enriched leather

Although leather is a noble material in its own right, in combination with another even richer material, or through the complexity of an elaborate process, it becomes yet more luxurious and precious, conferring an exceptional character on the object it is being used to make.

Techniques of excellence

The precision, detail or time-consuming nature of certain techniques produce an item with more than just added value; it also has added soul. Generally artisanal, often manual, these techniques also imbue it with the historical heritage they are perpetuating, making the product practically timeless.

Woven leather brings to mind handcraft and a love of art. Using strips of calf leather “whose larger, stiffer skins are very suitable to this work,” the Italian company Querida produces panels in a variety of formats with an infinite range of possibilities. Whether handwoven or made on artisanal machines, they can be embellished with the addition of a textile thread or can create a three-dimensional effect. Using the same principle, the company Ejaz Tanning demonstrates all the expertise of India using lamb leather.

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Woven lamb leather by Ejaz Tanning Company

Embroidered in India by a partner workshop, the lamb leather panels by Giancarlo Caponi, “which are thick enough to support embroidery,” are decorated with hand-sewn crystals or sequins. Whether suede or smooth, laser cut-outs are sometimes used to accentuate their worked appearance. And finally, the artistic gestures of the painter can literally transfigure leather with the subjective placing of colour, making the product even more unique.

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Embroidered lamb leather panels by Giancarlo Caponi

This is the goal of the company Dolmen, when it hand-paints python leather before covering it with a glistening metallic transfer.

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Hand-painted then metallised python from Dolmen

Precious additions

When combined with materials renowned for their preciousness, leather becomes sumptuous. When delicate lace, for example, is superimposed on leather, the latter is inducted into a very select group of luxury fabrics. The company Accoppiature Pisane specialises in lamination and combines smooth, suede or perforated lamb leathers with a colourful or brocade lace. Of course, “this does not mean that we do not have to perform rub and tear-resistance tests,” explains a manager.

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Layering of lace, embroidery and sequins on leather by Tari

At Tari, the combination of silvery lamb leather with white lace embroidered with green flowers and colourless sequins takes the idea of leather lamination to its apogee

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Layering of lace, embroidery and sequins on leather by Tari

The addition of metal is generally seen as enriching the product, so tanners do not hesitate to coat their leathers with more or less precious metallisations. Using a simple film transfer, Reptilis creates constellations of tiny silver dots on python skins, giving them a magical sparkle.

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Silvery pointillist python by Reptilis

In a more unique manner, Conceria Centrorettili sprays its python skins with coloured metallisations before washing them with a special product in a steam bath to give a softened and subtly-washed finish.

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Metallised, washed python from Conceria Centrorettili

Although producing very different results, Whiteline and France Croco have developed the same idea, covering a dyed black crocodile skin with a silver or gold layer and then “revealing” the patina with a cloth or sponge before it dries.

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Silver patinaed black croco by Whiteline

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Gold patinaed black croco by France Croco

Within the realms of luxury and preciousness, the combination of crocodile and 22-carat gold conjugates the expertise of specialists in precious skins with the art of a gilder on leather. While Cuir de Lagny has refined a “special finish that allows gold leaf to be laid on the surface, with enough flexibility to ensure it doesn’t come off when the material is folded“, Atelier Bettenfeld-Rosenblum has concocted a bonding product that it uses to coat the skin and fix the gold leaf, according to a cold gilding procedure. Behind all these processes and demonstrations of resources, let us not forget that passionate human beings with unrivalled skills strive to excel themselves every day.

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Gold leaf gilded croco by Cuir de Lagny and Atelier Bettenfeld-Rosenblum