Première Vision Leather asked to its exhibitors what were the buyers’ choices during the show.
Discover their choices regarding finishes, colours and innovations.
Exhibitors we spoke to for this survey suggest that leather goods remain the preferred area of application for visitors, over footwear and clothing. This means that calf leather is the most in-demand product, and the premium positioning of the show naturally guides visitors towards the highest quality articles, the most natural finishes and aniline and semi-aniline items. This is not incompatible with a desire for a certain softness, and thus for drummed articles. This tendency also applies to lamb leather which is necessarily dipped, in the purest sense of the term, and which should be as little covered as possible.
Nevertheless, certain fashion trends are appreciated, such as metallics, patents, laminated decorations and iridescent effects. Mechanical grains, on bovine leather in particular, have their fans, prepared to accept a certain relief and conscious of their usefulness in finding a market for second choice skins and creating more affordable products. Similarly, a printed pattern is sometimes welcome – particularly snakeskin and camouflage – even on buffalo and ponyskin finishes.
Washable lamb leather for clothing and thicker and more resistant ovine skins for bags were also popular at this edition.
And lastly, vegetable tanning continues to win over more and more fans, encouraging specialists to innovate with softer articles, waxed finishes and more subtle colours.
Visitors were mostly interested with finding the right materials so were less concerned about colours, focusing more on the technical and aesthetic characteristics of the articles. However, some colours did come up frequently in more advanced enquiries. Basic colours, like black and shades of brown are of course still popular. Beige tones, mouse grey and taupe earn their place in the palette for summer 16 as do pastels, and mauve in particular. Blues are still in the running this season, with marine, sky or purple tones popular.
And although bright colours seem to have fallen out of fashion, certain neons were very well received.
Stylists are used to a product offer that is regularly evolving and each season they hope to find innovations that surprise and stimulate them. Tanners are well aware of their expectations and are constantly developing their products, in the short and long term.
Some, like Lider Deri, want to start producing stretch lamb leather. Others, such as Manutrans, aspire to launching laser-engraved decorations on pony skin. And companies such as Timbrados Rubio would like to expand the reptile-effect finishes on bovine hides, whilst Cetinkaya wants to produce a double-sided suede and nappa lamb leather.
In response to the desire for very smooth surfaces, many tanners have looked to soften grains and make them barely visible, but without over-covering the leather. There is still research being carried out on patent finishes, and the same applies to perforations and pleats, in response to a desire for geometry. Certain tanners are exploring the colour palette, with shading or two-tone double-sided items.
As regards reptiles – crocodile and python – the growing success of nubuck has inspired specialists to make them more sophisticated, with for example, two-tone effects.
But certain projects are part of a much more long-term objective. These include offering totally chrome-free leathers, as requested by more and more major houses. Or the desire to perfect vegetable tanning to produce more stable, supple, finer and more resistant qualities. Or to take the ecological aspect of the process further and improve the traceability of the skins.