Hide and Chic

From strong and sturdy to embellished and luxurious,leather’s undergone a makeover.

Written by Jagmeeta Thind Joy | Published: April 8, 2013 2:01 am

From strong and sturdy to embellished and luxurious,leather’s undergone a makeover.

The phrase tall,dark and handsome is something you are likely to read in a romantic novel. Add to this natural forest green shade and it would be the description of a smart messenger-style leather bag that 37-year-old entrepreneur,Karandeep Singh Aulakh wears to work. “It’s perfect for carrying my I-pad and I love the fact that it’s soft and not in black,” says Chandigarh-based Aulakh. His choice reflects the growing trend in the world of leather where the heavy duty look (read strong and sturdy) has been swapped for natural softness and colour. The just launched Spring-Summer 2013 collection by Hidesign,one of the country’s luxury leather brands,essays the trend as well. The colour palette in the collection is rich with hues such as olive,deep red,golden honey,forest green,tan,dark browns and black.

Internationally,vibrant leather,which was big in autumn,has carried forward to Spring-Summer 2013 as well,with collections by designer labels such as Just Cavalli,Marni,Miu Miu,Valentino and Fendi showcasing the same.

Recently Delhi-based designer Namrata Joshipura spread her wings with a leather-rich collection,“Wings of Desire” that she showcased at the recently concluded Wills Lifestyle India Fashion Week (WIFW) Autumn-Winter 2013. The silhouettes,in the designer’s signature style,were contemporary and incorporated leather jacket dresses,skirts,cropped jackets and pants. What stood out,however,was the use of leather,particularly in the jacket dresses that had embroidery running down the front panels. The designer admits to her “exploration of embellishment”,which continued with this collection that used used fine leather strips to create wing patterns. Surface textures were created through embroideries and trimmed with leather too. Also exploring leather for the Autumn-Winter line-up is designer Pallavi Mohan. At WIFW Autumn-Winter 2013,Mohan,who showed after a gap of two seasons,presented her collection “All that glitters is gold”,which highlighted leather with knitwear. Supple leather trousers were paired with flat knit sweaters and the collection also included form-fitting leather tops.

“When it comes to leather accessories,colour is definitely in but the focus is natural colouring and not those,which have been synthetically treated,” says Hidesign founder and president,Dilip Kapur. He mentions how they follow the centuries-old skill of tanning with natural seeds and barks. “Vegetable tanning uses extracts from the barks of Wattle trees and seeds of Myrobalan. It gives the leather natural sleekness and a full grain look,” explains Kapur,who was recently in Chandigarh to launch one of the brand’s largest boutiques in India. The new collection by Milanese designer Alberto Ciaschini,too,features a mix of intricate embroidery using Swarovski elements and a play of complex surfaces and constructions in nappa leather. “We have always rebelled against uniformity and the synthetic flatness of the mass market,” admits Kapur,who is now looking to connect leather even more closely with art. It started with the “Blue Nile” collection of hand-painted bags and wallets to Gudjon Bjarnason,the acclaimed Icelandic artist and architect creating art pieces in leather.

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