Spring Leather Revival

Leather is no longer reserved for handbags, shoes and biker dudes. The spring/summer ’09 collections were sprinkled with revamped versions of the autumn staple fabric, which fit with the varying moods of most collections. Hannah McGibbon sent a pair of red leather shorts down the Chloé runway, while Yigal Azrouël translated his lived-in aesthetic to a pair of worn and rather unrecognizable soft, leather pants.

Designers such as Vivienne Westwood Red Label made an obvious statement with black leather dresses and tiny gold jackets littering the runway, while others opted for accented pops. The 3-D brightly colored skirts that paraded down Christopher Kane’s runway, and thick kimono-style leather belts wrapped tightly around models at most presentations were all refreshing uses. Marc Jacobs updated the leather jacket to a pointy shouldered yellow incarnation in his eponymous collection for a look that seemed more Dick Tracy than bomber.

Leather was the perfect medium for Stærk’s moody and chic creations. The mostly leather and silk collection utilized the material on sleek and slim pants, elegant capes lined in muted toned fabric, easy high-waisted mermaid skirts, skin hugging body suits and as an accent to the necklines of monochromatic dresses or to the flowing silk tops and tanks.

Jean Paul Gaultier teased his audience with peeps of leather swimsuits worn under the striped suits and belted blouses. A long, black leather trench with a beautifully subtle rounded shape served up a chic gothic vibe to the nude dress underneath and as a reminder that jackets en cuir don’t necessarily have to be accessorized with spikes.

Though this fabric always looks sleek and chic in colder months, the look begs the question of practicality once the heat of s/s ’09 sets in—it could become a very sticky situation.

—Kyle Landman

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