Here is an overview of the major trends in leather to be found on the stands of exhibitors at Première Vision Leather. Prepare your leather circuit!
As, by definition, perfection is impossible to achieve, even the finest quality items can be improved upon. At Conceria Superior, smooth semi-aniline calf leather achieves a pinnacle of naturalness, rather like at Tanneries Roux, where the texture goes as far as to be described as “crust”, because the skin receives only minimal treatment. At Chiorino Technology, a bovine article is presented as being “free from metals and solvents”, to the delight of certain clients who are very keen on “green” leather. And buffed articles are part of this movement, with a stunning suede calfskin that Conceria Superior also offers with an “astrakhan” grain, a richly velvety suede calf split from Opera and a nubuck from Conceria Cilp that has been double dip-dyed so as to better set the colour.
Semi-aniline calf with a “crust” texture by Tanneries Roux
Bovine leather free from metals and solvents by Chiorino Technology
Calf suede from Conceria Superior
A mechanical grain is clearly no longer synonymous with lower quality. One only has to look at the grained young bull leather from Curtidos Badia, in its finest or most marked version – imitating buffalo leather – to see the relevance of this approach. “In this way the grain is perfectly homogenous throughout the surface of the leather,” the company representative tells us. Less natural, the two-tone articles from the same tannery will convince fans of discreet fashion finishes. Calf with a camouflage pattern over a caviar grain testifies to the subtle inventiveness of Tanneries Haas. The contrast between matt and shine from Conceria Cilp gives an interesting relief to calf with that finish. At Chiorino Technology, bovine leather becomes double-sided thanks to a printed finish on both the flesh and grain sides. Lastly, Inducol embosses lamb leather using a press to create a particularly audacious bubble finish.
Two-tone young bull from Curtidos Badia
Camouflage pattern caviar leather from Tanneries Haas
Matt and shiny grain on calf leather by Conceria Cilp
“When leather has been less popular for a few seasons, it often comes back into favour with natural or slightly oiled textures,” an exhibitor tells us. Thus, Tanneries Haas is offering calf leather with a wax-based finish and a creamy texture. Conciaria Masoni has produced an oiled article with a quite remarkable marble-effect finish. Lamb leather from Alric combines the sensuality of its texture with the warmth of its ochre tone.
Calf leather with a wax-based finish from Tanneries Haas
Smooth oiled calf leather from Conciaria Masoni
Oiled lamb leather from Alric
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery and leather enjoys taking on alternative aspects. At Alric, certain thicker lamb leathers (0.8 to 1 mm) look like box calf and are used “for leather goods, footwear and structured and unlined garments,” explains the exhibitor. In contrast, calf can become as soft as lamb leather at Conciaria Masoni, Tanneries Roux “for bag linings” and at Tanneries Haas “with a touch of shine coming from a light pearl finish.” Although chrome tanned, with all the elasticity this gives, the calf leather from Conciaria Masoni has the same degree of stiffness as a vegetable-tanned equivalent. Tanneries Roux has adapted the boarding technique – usually used for goat leather – to gives its calf leather “a more masculine appearance”. Lastly, textile aspects are still present but never identical, with a denim-style lamb leather from Alric, a shearling lamb leather like carded felt from Rial 1957 and a washed python leather from Reptilis that is a soft as a silk ribbon.
Extra-soft calf leather from Conciaria Masoni
Denim-finish lamb leather from Alric
Washed python from Reptilis
Although radically different, patent and matt finishes are still equally present in the Spring Summer 2018 collections. At Conceria Superior, patent leather is very popular, even with a grain. The same can be seen at Inducol where a wrinkled version revamps double-sided lamb leather. In contrast, at Chiorino Technology, bovine leather is produced in a rubbery matt finish while at Conceria Centrorettili, python is depigmented and loses its shine.
Smooth and grained patent calf leather from Conceria Superior
Patent shearling lamb leather from Inducol
Depigmented and matt python from Conceria Centrorettili
As a nod to its origins, leather is sometimes produced in a rustic or even a raw version, which does not make it any less noble a material. The calf split from Opera is fuzzier but it still performs well in rubbing and humidity tests and is guaranteed “not to bleed,” explained the representatives on the stand. Carded shearling lamb from Rial 1957, which has been bleached at the tips, has lost nothing of its extreme softness. And the bleached croco from Reptilis maintains its crocodile prestige, particularly as the bleaching and patina-adding process is far from being straightforward.
Calf split from Opéra
Bleached shearling lamb from Rial 1957
Washed python from Reptilis
There are many techniques for decorating leather (see our article on this subject which is already on line), and tanneries make good use of them. The simplest – but not the most inexpensive – is hand-painting, as practised by Centrorettili on its python leathers. “Certain skins require up to 8 hours of work,” a spokesperson told us. Inducol makes use of the transfer technique – which does not affect the texture – to scatter delicate spring flowers over its lamb leathers. Conceria Cilp and Reptilis use digital printing in two very different ways, one covering calf leather with graphic blue diamonds, the other decorating karung leathers with barely perceptible tracery. Rial 1957 takes a more radical approach, lacerating finished lamb leather and raising irregular fibres.
Hand-painted python from Centrorettili
Digitally printed grained calf leather from Conceria Cilp
Lamb leather with a finish and superficial lacerations from Rial 1957
Modern and polymorphous, leather takes on metallic highlights for an even more urban look. Painted python from Centrorettili and coated bovine leather – which has not been laminated so is less susceptible to scratches – from Chiorino Technology are two prime examples.
Metallic python from Centrorettili
Bovine leather with a metallic coating from Chiorino Technology
Première Vision Leather – Hall 3