Autumn/Winter 2023 trend report: leather edition

Autumn/Winter 2023 trend report: leather edition

Autumn/Winter 2023 trend report: leather edition

By Fiona Ward

Leather is undoubtedly always a key feature at fashion week – it forms the basis of countless staples, after all – but in recent seasons, the impact of leather as a textile all-rounder has majorly returned to favour.

Shopping app Lyst reports that post-fashion month searches for leather clothing spiked by 25% following the AW23 shows, prompted no doubt by the frequent iterations of the natural fabric in its many guises. Here are the top trends…


The leather skirt

Pencil skirts and moto minis are probably the obvious silhouettes that come to mind when it comes to the relatively-classic leather skirt, but this year hits different with billowing ball skirts at Altuzarra and flirty knee-high A-line numbers at Bottega Veneta. At Proenza Schouler, the garment was given a streetwear twist in juxtaposition with slouchy hoodies, while glamorous London designer Aadnevik reinvented the flippy schoolgirl skirt trend with braided leather wrap details.

The modern leather skirt has already trickled down into retail, too, particularly in the maxi silhouettes that have come back into favour in recent months. Alexander McQueen has launched a sleek ‘bustier’ skirt which grazes the ankles (depending on your height!), while House of Dagmar offers a similar silhouette which would work beautifully with a matching pair of boots, just like its runway counterparts.


Chocolate tones

Black leather will inevitably have its moments on most fashion week schedules, but this year softer, warmer tones had just as much airtime. Try not to get too hungry as we discuss the milk chocolate calfskin jackets, skirts and coats at Coach – or the burnt caramel separates at Brandon Maxwell. Bottega Veneta made a case for reddish cranberries with its runway leather pieces, while Gabriela Hearst incorporated panels of tan, olive and cream with black for her Renaissance-inspired Chloé collection. “The three materials that were used in the Renaissance were linen, wool and leather. They’re extremely resilient and last for thousands of years,” she told British Vogue backstage.


High-shine vinyl

Metallic leather remains on trend for AW23, though high-shine, slick textures have joined the party too. Most notably, Chanel showed a patent leather top and skirt set, with a slight sixties vibe – another key piece was a patent leather coat with matching knee-high boots.

Gestuz also upped the ante with a dark, sexy vibe for the upcoming season, showing moto jackets and the aforementioned maxi skirt in gleaming black and brown leather – while Zadig & Voltaire also introduced nonchalantly-shiny leather trousers worn with a softer separate. Of her inspiration for the collection, designer Cecilia Bönström said backstage: “The inspiration for this show came from two images: a red leather vintage car seat and a female biker wearing a jacket and trousers… the ‘biker woman’ still exists but can wear patent trousers with a hyper-structured jumper or a super-sheer lingerie dress.”


The leather coat

Leather outerwear is no groundbreaking thing, though this season will see a return to full-length calfskin coats. It was coffee-coloured trenches at Ferragamo, a smooth structured number at Khaite and textured leather wrap coats at Bottega Veneta – Diesel, meanwhile, continuing its resurgence since filing for bankruptcy in 2020, showed a slouchy overcoat in its distinctive distressed leather fabrication.

The way to wear it? Ultra-casual and unbothered, according to the latest runway styling –we’re talking layered over slouchy hoodies, leggings and layers for ultimate ‘this old thing?’ energy.