Monday 5 December 2016

Insider Guide: Leather

Sinead Van Kampen

Published 04/02/2010 | 12:02

Leather featured strongly at the Balenciaga Spring/Summer 2010 collection in Paris. Photo: Getty Images
Leather featured strongly at the Balenciaga Spring/Summer 2010 collection in Paris. Photo: Getty Images
Topshop's SS10 collection meadow jacket

Insider Guide is Independent Woman's fortnightly review of the latest trends on the fashion radar. Our insiders bring you their thoughts on what to wear, how to wear it and where to get it. This week we cast a discerning eye over all things leather.

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Sarah Rickard is chief stylist for Irish Tatler magazine and has styled for Off the Rails, Dublin Fashion Week and Divine Boutique.

Initial thoughts?

Not for the faint hearted, but there are some interesting new ways to wear leather, and it always seems to rework itself.

Will this look suit everybody?

I don't really think the look suits the over 40's although leather jackets suit all shapes and sizes. I think you need to be young and slim to really pull off a leather dress, but leather trousers can be teamed with a tunic or long t-shirt for girls conscious of their hips and bums.

How should it be worn?

I think leather skirts or tight leather trousers look great dressed down with a t-shirt, a blazer and shoe boots for a modern twist to the rock chick look or even team with prettier pieces for a softer take - team floral summer dresses with a leather jacket and flat leather boots.

Go for leather panels in trousers, skirts, dresses or jackets. Topshop's SS10 collection meadow jacket has leather sleeves which will give a nod to the look if you're working the trend with your usual wardrobe. There are also some great leather t-shirts that were shown on SS10 catwalks which I felt were a pretty interesting take on the trend, but beware, they are quite androgynous.

Who's working the trend?

Taylor Momsen from Gossip Girl, Alice Dellal, Erin Wasson, Pixie Geldof, Leigh Lezark, Alison Mosshart.

Which stores/designers are doing the trend well?

3.1 Phillip Lim, Celine, Balmain, Balenciaga, Rick Owens (designers). Oasis for the cute bandeau dresses, Warehouse for their best selling drape jackets in the softest leather and All Saints for all their fantastic leather pieces!

Is it a quick fad or here to stay?

Leather is definitely around to stay, it's been around for so long. There will always be a leather clad rock icon for every generation!





Ann Marie O' Connor is a fashion writer and columnist and has contributed to Elle, Image and Dazed and Confused. She also shares her sense of style with the nation on RTE's Afternoon Show.

Initial thoughts?

The leather trend is a welcome antidote to ditzy summer-of-love florals; especially in our climate. A leather skirt worn with a crisp white shirt and wedges is the minimalist statement of the moment. So simple; so chic. What's not to love?

Will this look suit everybody/How should it be worn?

This look is more forgiving than most would assume provided it is pared down and worn with a sportswear twist. Tailored or louche khakis and cottons seem unlikely partners for leather but look uber chic especially with minimal adornment.

Who's working the trend?

Kate Hudson, Heidi Klum, Mary-Kate Olsen and Kate Moss all rock the nu-leather look like seasoned veterans.

Which stores/designers are doing the trend well?

Former Chloe designer Phoebe Philo has really channelled the trend at the helm of Celine, which you can find at Brown Thomas. Recessionistas will love Asos.com which continues to come up trumps in the style stakes.

Is it a quick fad or here to stay?

I think it's more an evolving style than flash fad. As we've seen it roll out for a couple of seasons now I'm hoping it stays with us for a while longer.



Ann Keane has styled for some of Ireland's leading publications including Irish Tatler and Confetti. She has also created shoots for some of Ireland's best designers including Sharon Wauchob and Pauric Sweeney.

Initial thoughts?

The humble leather jacket has become a widespread wardrobe staple over the last few winters. From bombers to biker jackets and fitted leather blazers, it's been in the mix. I think everyone's predicting leather clothing is moving up to a whole new level this year.

2010 seems to have worked leather into everything, coats, skirts, trousers even underwear. We even saw Hermes design a leather jumpsuit in their collection. In the past leather has been paired up with that tough biker look, but this year it is beautifully cut and has a softer more luxurious look.

Will this look suit everybody?

I think certain leather items will suit everyone. You can never go wrong with a leather jacket in your wardrobe. On the other hand leather dresses and curve hugging leggings are not going to suit everyone. Choose a dress with silky folds that accentuates femininity.

How should it be worn?

The nature of leather is that it will stretch out so best to wriggle your way in with a smaller size because it will expand. There's no getting around that. I think the maxim should be to choose carefully and not from head to toe. Just pick one key item and introduce it to your wardrobe. Add easy styles like soft shift dresses.

Who's working the trend?

Miss Moss, Angelina Jolie, Rihanna, Kate Beckinsale, Kate Hudson

Which stores/designers are doing the trend well?

Alexander Wang brought out paper-thin leather leggings and they are a rock-n-roll fantasy. Mathew Williamson designed jade green shearling coats with bright patent finishes and Jean Paul Gaultier and Prada are also rocking the look.

Is it a quick fad or here to stay?

I think its here for a few seasons anyway.



Ingrid Hoey is a style consultant based in Dublin, her agency 'Butterfly Style' currenly styles the wardrobes of Irelands celebrity elite, she is currently working with Amy Huberman.

Initial thoughts?

I love leather as it is both functional and stylish, I am never without my fitted leather jackets one in soft grey and one in black - thrown over a party dress it instantly gives an outfit a young twist. By day, team jackets with skinny jeans and a tee or knit. A well fitted pair of leather trousers are hard to find - I have a pair from Gestuz which I team with suede boots and grey tees.

Will this look suit everybody?

Absolutely an element of leather in everyday looks are suitable to most. Although you might need to think about the age group factor - a structured blazer style leather jacket is great for the more discerning lady.

How should it be worn?

I think you should focus on one great piece and team with other materials to soften the look up. An all-leather look in my opinion is best suited to bikers!

Who's working the trend?

I love the way Alexa Chung casually throws a leather jacket over a Chanel prom dress, I love that juxtaposition.

Which stores/designers are doing the trend well ?

On the high street, you can't beat Topshop, and All Saints have the best leather jackets around. Joanne Hynes does a fantastic Armour leather jacket which she has pulled into the SS10 collection. She also has the most amazing off-white leather shift dress with cap sleeves which is on my wish list and as for Rick Owens... some day, Mr Owens, I will own one!

Is it a quick fad or here to stay?

Certainly here to stay. My mum has an amazing John Rocha leather blazer-style jacket that's ten years old and still looks amazing. The older and more distressed it gets the better it becomes.

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