THE FASHION EVOLUTION OF
In the realms of luxury fashion, no trend could be quite as timeless as leather. As durable as it is versatile, the fabric is one to have transcended time for not only its practicality but its symbolism across subcultures. From Brando to Balenciaga, consumers have adorned their wardrobes with leather pieces as a marker of statement and undoubted flair.
To note one of its early origins, leather really made an entry into the high fashion scene via the classic leather houses, notably Hermes and Louis Vuitton. It was Hermes who introduced a leather golf jacket to the Prince of Wales in 1918. Though this was still in the form of activewear, leather was chosen due to its durable material. For similar reasons, the humble leather jacket was also revived in the First World War. Initially embraced by aviators as flight jackets, its resistant quality made for an ideal form of protection for pilots facing harsh conditions.
In later years, it was motorcyclists who would adopt the garment, in much the same way Levi’s developed denim for workers. Classics such as this kind are often reinterpreted as a result of an evolutionary process and phenomena in fashion history. Developed within the context of their time, they eventually gained cult status. As the rugged fabric would further offer a means of protection for motorcyclists, it was also effective in asserting the persona of hyper-masculinity they had sought. With this only adding to their popularity, the garment would later become synonymous with biker subculture and inevitably adopted by Hollywood. One could hardly forget the image of Marlon Brando in his Schott Perfecto Leather Jacket, after all, the archetype of rebellion (see The Wild One, 1953).
In more recent decades, it is the late Yves Saint Laurent we have to thank for the leather pieces we are undoubtedly wearing today. In adapting the Perfecto jacket from a tough, masculine style into a sleek silhouette, the garment became as ever successful within womenswear.
By today, we have seen the rise of everything from leather trousers to leather skirts and even crop tops alike. From the likes of Jil Sander to Gabriela Hearst, Petar Petrov, and Alexander McQueen, keep scrolling to discover the S/S 2021 pieces we’re falling for this season.