The metallization of leather

Very visible on the stands of tanners during the previous edition of the show, metallic leather is sure to be omnipresent in the next designer collections.

Indeed, even furriers have adopted this fashion touch for their furs, using the same techniques as those used for leather, with nanotechnology being the exclusive preserve of the company Accessory Fur.

©Federico Albarello1
© Federico Albarello                                            

Two methods are used to create this metallic effect, each costing more or less the same, according to the experts we spoke to. Film transfer is the easiest method, our contacts tell us, and involves applying heat to a transfer sheet in order to lay a fine metallic layer onto the leather. An additional print from a plate or a cylinder can also be added, such as the golden bovine article with a printed woven effect from Conceria Papete while a wash can be used to create a cracked effect. “With lamination (i.e. transfers using film), the finish is shinier but rub-resistance is lower,” explains our contact from the Italian tannery Papete. Lamination can also be done on suede, on the flesh side, as offered Conceria Arbor.

©conceria papete
© Conceria Papete

The other procedure is more of a finishing technique and involves spraying the skin with a metallic product.There is less shine using this technique but the rub-resistance is better,” our specialist continues. “This is the method we prefer to use for footwear”. Other operations can also be applied after the metallisation, which is subsequently waxed and polished, bringing out the gilding through the black patina. One of many fashion finishes where the sensuality of the leather offers a pleasant contrast with the apparent coldness of the metallic shine.

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