Leather stirs up excitement
Leather, a noble, living material, never ceases to fascinate, challenge and intrigue the world of fashion. “We’re living in an amazing time and it’s an amazing session!” said Thomas Eberhard, in charge of the Parisian clientele at Bodin-Joyeux, specialists in dipped lambskin, who was thrilled by the depth of the discussions this season. “Our customers aren’t only leather buyers but knowledgeable and skilled professionals, concerned with accurately weighing the consequences of their choices and the impact of their material selections.”
The sector is organising to spotlight transparency and traceability. From the origin of the skins to the composition of the tanning products used, to animals’ food and environment, a whole host of issues arise. And the tanneries and tawers supplying the major luxury houses (Tanneries Haas, D’Annonay, Le Puy, Roux, Croco France, Mégisserie Richard, Bodin-Joyeux) are working to answer them in ever more precise fashion.
This desire to shine a light on (good) practices goes hand in hand with a concern for the recognition of leather trades. Discussions were well underway at the show regarding a European legal framework for the use of the word “leather”. At the end of August, the matter – deemed a “necessity” by many of the players interviewed – was referred to the European Commission. At stake: protecting the industry from unfair competition that uses the term “leather” for synthetic or alternative materials.
Another hot topic: R&D committed to finding alternatives to chrome tanning. “This is a sizeable issue, but necessary from a sustainable viewpoint,” according to Felice de Piano. The head of the Neapolitan company Newpelli already offers a “be green” line that meets the “Metal Free” guidelines and represents 80% of its collection. In the face of growing demands, initiatives are multiplying. Germany’s Deepmello has developed a leather tanned using rhubarb extracts (Rhabarberleder).
In the aisles of the show, this collective, creative, intellectual and constructive rivalry is fully welcomed. “The new generation of designers named as artistic directors of fashion houses also contributes to an exciting environment,” says Patricia Roggwiller, the sales director of the Compagnie des Cuirs Précieux. Here, all special products have captured attention, including a highly visual crocodile leather with a honeycomb mesh inserted in the heart of the material. At Haas, it’s the new grains and perforated leathers that are catching buyers’ eyes this season. And Rial is stirring interest with a needle-worked sheep’s wool.
“Some brands are coming back to leather clothing,” says Maison Lauret. The craze for stretch lamb – a darling of the lean leg look – at Cuirs du Futur can confirm this. “It’s been a long time since we’ve had such a good show. We met all our objectives,” said Laurent Bove, sales manager. “We feel a real desire to put leather back in the collections,” he concluded, smiling.
PREMIERE VISION LEATHER, hall 3