Leather On The Catwalk A/W '19
Leather On The Catwalk The Best Of Autumn/Winter 19
It’s been half a year since the world’s biggest fashion houses nudged us towards a new wardrobe for autumn and winter. Since then, we’ve had time to ruminate. Stroke our chins and check our bank balances. Because, more than usual, leather took a turn on the catwalk.
In the midst of grunge revivals, polo necks and ballgown pomposity, there was no hiding from the leather look this year. From Dolce & Gabbana to Louis Vuitton, matte to high-gloss, sleek and minimal to corsetry and chains, the catwalk saw it all.
Now that we’re about to brave the cold, let’s round up what’s hot in the A/W trends for 2019. Notebooks and credit cards at the ready!
Several brands took a plunge back through time to the 1970s, when conservatism and knitwear took over Europe and America. But it was a more blooming, Paris-inflected series of designs that took style watchers by storm. JW Anderson showcased oversized knitted clothes and squared shoulder pads, while Valentino chose to bring back the casual blazer, paired with leather boots and handbags.
In fact, leather bags were everywhere this year, suiting the power symbols of a time when women fought for better careers and equal rights. With knee-high boots on the march, you can relatively dress down with jumpers, polos and tartan skirts, using oversized accessories to make your personality felt. Hugo Boss turned out some of the best examples in New York, where golden brown and camel colours sizzled under the lights and camera flashes.
Sharp-cut leather coats
Menswear jumped the gun on leather coats, but women fired a cleaner shot – the fits were tighter and more inventive. Take Alexander McQueen, for instance: leather belts, chained and studded for the fetishist next door; and a slew of tailored midi coats, either asymmetric or flared, reflecting the designer’s early days on Saville Row. The label took inspiration from the North of England and it shows. Case in point – the madly slashed, black leather hip-length jackets, looking as if they were fashioned from stray material from the warehouse floor.
But colour made its presence felt too. Long splashes of pink, lilac, red and green came into their own for 2019. Fendi’s leather trench coats stood out like a gleaming flower after a rainstorm. Again, leather boots made up the final piece of a tall, stately aesthetic where creases and bouncing light drew the eye to every inch of these outfits.
Head-to-toe leather for men
While women took the brunt of most leatherwear for A/W 2019, guys had their own, dramatic stance on our favourite material. One glance to collections by Dior Homme, Berluti and Alyx confirms that leather trousers, jackets, shoes and shirts are back in vogue, for a fantastic neo-gothic style that couldn’t be more brazen.
Maybe it’s timed with news there’ll be another Matrix movie, or maybe it’s just a happy coincidence and we’re seeing men feel like superheroes, whatever reality they’re in. Ruffles – which appeared across many multi-sex fashion lines – gained an edge in leather, mixing classical and New Romantics imagery in deepest black.
Skinny trouser perfection
It wasn’t only men, however, who rocked the leather trousers ensemble. Girls had their moments with trouser and blouse combos, offsetting cream, white and midnight blue tones. It was a welcome break from haute couture fashion, which took much of the spotlight towards the end of runway sets.
Yves Saint Laurent led the charge. The label’s love affair with rock ’n’ roll chic paid off tremendously, using black cotton and lambskin to underscore a simple look for lunch dates, clubbing or tours abroad. Elsewhere we have Proenza Schouler delivering zipped beauties, with a concealed front fastener to emphasise the minimalism. Zadig & Voltaire, meanwhile, gave us a looser, more casual stretch of leather legwear. You can go wide or tight with these trousers – overall, though, the skinnier side won out.
Stepping out of the bedroom – and onto the catwalk – were several examples of leather coating in a fishnet cut. That does mean holes in things that are meant to guard you from the cold, but with a jumper or scarf for backup, it makes for a futurist appearance that’s well worth the effort. Fendi came out on form once more. The brand’s white and camel garbs (including coats, pencil skirts and long-sleeved tops) were slashed with diamond holes, eliciting held breath at March’s Rome showcase.
Usually, we’ve seen this look reserved for lingerie, but as the Italian maestros prove, you don’t have to keep something this good under wraps forever. Another side effect? Plenty of layering opportunities. Whether light or dark, a leather fishnet overcoat can play masterfully with the clothes beneath it. We’re ready for orange and cream sweaters or purple turtlenecks to add a bit of colour to those grey streets.
Fashion this time of year is never better, especially with so much to enjoy from the leather scene. So take your time perusing the magazines. Think about which trends to dip your toe into – whether it’s the throwbacks, winter warmers, sci-fi innovations, or anything in between, that caught your eye. The only constant in fashion is that there are no rules when it comes to your own style.