The fall 2021 houses championing leather couture

Mike Adler: A/W 21 Leather Couture

The fall 2021 houses championing leather couture

2nd September 2021

As fashion begins to find its way again, designers continue to celebrate leather. In the Fall 2021 season of Haute Couture—among the layers of tulle, ruffles, lace and satin—leather unlocks a brave new world of accessible Haute Couture.


Luxury super brand Valentino took to leather to accessorise their effortlessly chic collection. Vibrantly hued silk, crepes, wool and satin silhouettes were paired with a rainbow of gender-neutral leather opera gloves, boots and platform brogues.

Photo: Filippo Fior /

Ronald Van Der Kemp’s third fully sustainable collection – made from fabric scraps and upcycled looks from previous seasons—saw the inclusion of a leather mesh panelled mini dress, patent leather hip piece and full-sleeve lambskin gloves. A heroic look made of reissued metallic leather, the silver pant with gold inserted pockets and patchwork jacket announces this designer’s strong, sustainable season.

Photo: Marijke Aerden / Courtesy of RVDK Ronald Van Der Kemp

Leather coats were on the agenda for Balenciaga which gave us a classic long line which communicates luxury in its finer traditional details.

Photos: Courtesy of Balenciaga & Courtesy of Azzaro

Off schedule Andre Brocca reminded us of why Vogue famously calls him the ‘world’s youngest couturier’. His technical cutting skills are unsurpassed any designer of his age and this collection is an absolute triumph of architectural splendour. A spiral-cut leather ensemble with logarithmic cutting was constructed from recycled leather and repurposed fibres from an industrial glove factory. The three dimensional jacket cut with conjoined spirals perfectly form the shoulder as the extended sleeves lend some drama to a sharply tailored waist. Paired with a sleek linear trouser cut to display both curve and tailoring – and the Brocca Midas touch.


Kerby Jean-Raymond for Pyer Moss became the first African American to show on the calendar with a number of leather-inspired looks. His was an ode to a history of forgotten black American inventors. Soft sculptured wearable looks included a puffer coat resembling a giant hand holding a mop; a model wearing a sandal on her back; a gold dress with gold lock headpiece among models clad in curtain rods; bicycle handles; sani-phone; hair rollers; the three light traffic light and a peanut butter jar-dress. Kerby Jean-Raymond is in talks to place the collection in a gallery – the art pieces are more fitting to the larger political and cultural intention than a traditional Haute Couture client.

Photo: David Prutting / BFA / Courtesy of Pyer Moss

Schiaparelli, under the direction of Daniel Roseberry, melds the house’s past and present, with Daniel successfully embellishing his new sculpted leather garments with the brand’s heritage couture jewellery line. A form-fit leather jacket dress boasting volume sleeves was finished with a zip detail and gold floral jewel buttons. Thigh-high leather platform boots and stilettos feature gold painted toe pieces and embroidered adornments. A metallic structured coat feature sharp cut folds constructing inverted teardrop back panels—leaving little doubt the house continues its long legacy as the very haute of couture and that Roseberry is a couture leather master.

Photo: Daniel Roseberry / Courtesy of Schiaparelli

Mike Adler