Fashion & Accessories

By Alexandra Taylor

Leather has made its comeback the past few seasons, and its no surprise that designers are pushing the envelope on how much leather is too much leather. The classic leather jacket in a variety of styles and cuts has graced the runways and recently become a staple of many a woman’s wardrobe. The past year has seen an influx of leather trends hit the stores for Fall 2010. From leather bomber jackets, leather leggings, mini skirts, to even full-on leather party dresses, indicating that if you can dream it up (or sketch it), it most likely can be made in some weight of leather or imitation leather.

Rodarte’s hand-marbled leather jacket combines paneled marble and gray leather and snakeskin, for a stylish yet polished piece that will sure to be noticed. Snakeskin straps on the upper sleeve and four straps across the waist add accentuation. The pristine tailored and constructed cropped jacket is flattering, and the knit collar adds a soft edge to a great wardrobe splurge piece. To find the Rodarte leather jacket and other great leather goods, check out Opening Ceremony in Soho.

Available at http://www.openingceremony.us/

This brings up next the debate of real versus synthetic. Many designers have adamantly stood up against the production of leather goods, and even produced entire collections of brilliantly designed and constructed faux-leather products. Whether or not you choose to abstain from purchasing leather goods for ethical purposes, shopping for faux leather pieces can be easy on the wallet and still give you trendy and quality products without the exorbitant price tag.

Stella McCartney, an active PETA supporter, and anti-leather and fur activist has conjured up collection after collection with the use of faux leather and fur products, which give some of the most luxurious leather goods a run for their money, so to speak, in style and craftsmanship. The Stella McCartney faux-leather products stand to illustrate that faux does not always indicate inferior quality. From faux-leather thigh high boots, hobo bags, belts, and a variety of garments, Stella McCartney makes fake and friendly look luxurious and edgy. Note that her collections, synthetic leather or not, still carry her designer name price tag.

Stella McCartney black faux-leather studded knee-high boots with a wooden platform 4-inch heel.

Available at http://www.net-a-porter.com/

Looking at the two dresses above, you may find yourself asking, is it real or faux leather? Many of today’s leather and leather look-alike garments are constructed and designed in similar manners, making it less apparent when a garment is of an artificial fiber. We can contribute these new innovative standards of faux leather to developments in textiles and fiber technology, and with the creation of fabrics that mimic the feel and look of leather. Thus, the question of faux or real is no longer a question of taste level and quality, but a question of personal aesthetic and style.

The Joseph leather a-line dress (on the right) plays on the classic a-line round neck work dress, adding a flair by using black coated soft 100 % leather. The dress can take you from day to evening, and transforms an otherwise simple silhouette into a chic and sophisticated look.

Available at http://www.net-a-porter.com

The contrasted faux leather Phoebe Couture by Kay Unger strapless dress (on the left) is precisely cut and slim-tailored to accent the feminine figure with a grosgrain ribbon trim and an edgy exposed zipper closure.

For sale at Saks Fifth Avenue, http://www.saksfifthavenue.com.

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Originally published October 2010
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