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LUXE LEATHER

AW TREND REPORT 2021

A perennial classic and a savvy, for-life investment—leather is the quiet underachiever of A/W ‘21.

Fashion has been particularly smitten with leather recently. Perhaps it’s the durability—a part of the industry’s push to encourage the mindful consumption of for-life pieces (Einstein once said “leather solves the coat problem for many years”). Or maybe it’s leather’s trans-seasonal appeal—equally perfect for elevating knit-heavy winter ensembles as it is for grunge-ing up floral-heavy spring looks. Or perhaps it’s C) none of the above—maybe it’s just the simple fact that leather pieces look really, really good.

At Alexander McQueen, Sarah Burton showed spring summer ‘21 in December—months later than usual—unveiling an exceptionally tight collection made of upcycled materials from the maison’s studio. Among the stand-out pieces? Leather bodice dresses, leather jackets shrunken and cut off-the shoulder, and leather blazers with BDSM-esque cut-outs. Leather was a favourite elsewhere too—at Celine there were quilted leather shorts, at Hermès, crop top and short combos in buttery, caramel-hued leather, and at Boss there were surprisingly breezy moss-green leather dresses.

LUXE LEATHER OUTFIT
Jacket & Pants: Sandro, Top: Balmain (David Jones), Hat: Witchery, Bag: Golden Goose
LUXE LEATHER OUTFIT

In short? Designers took everything you thought you knew about leather, and turned it on its head—remaking classic wardrobe staples in leather, to create a hyper-modern end result. The season proved nothing if not the material’s versatility—where leather was once solely associated with white T-shirt wearing, motorbike-riding James Dean types, it now caters to every kind of aesthetic proclivity.

Consider yourself more on the preppy side? Opt for a pleated leather skirt by Aje, then femme it up with a shrunken pastel cardigan, a crisp white shirt, and delicate pearl earrings. An unapologetic glamazon? Pair a slinky leather mini dress with towering heels, chunky chain jewellery and a statement clutch. Inspired by streetwear? Sandro’s leather suiting—including a particularly fantastic cropped bomber jacket—is unbeatable. Just add trainers, a logo tee (David Jones is currently stocking great options by Balmain) and, if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, a matching leather bucket hat.

LUXE LEATHER OUTFIT
Dress: H&M, Bag: Maje, Shoes: Jo Mercer, Bracelet: Kmart
LUXE LEATHER
Sweater: Maje, Top: Country Road, Skirt: Aje, Bag: Zara, Earrings: Kmart

While shopping for leather, remember you’re making an investment. Err on the side of caution when committing to these items, opting for classic silhouettes (blazers, straight-leg trousers, bombers) you’ll keep and wear for years. Get pieces tailored if need be, and be sure to invest in leather conditioner, and try to keep your pieces out of the rain. For more trend-driven pieces, experiment with the many, many great faux-leather options available from high street favourites like H&M and Zara. There’s something for every leather-lover.

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