As Lisa Haydon walked down the ramp in a leather lehenga for designer Monisha Jaising recently, it altered a lot of notions about the material.
More than anything else, it led to the realisation that leather — earlier restricted to western wear, or by occasion and climatic conditions — can be a part of everyday clothing. But the challenge for us Mumbaikars ,or any coastal city in India, including Kolkata and Chennai, is to wear leather in the city.
We get the experts to weigh in.
Hot this season
So far, the fabric has been a favourite primarily for accessories. This season, it’s all about skirts, jackets and even dresses. “Leather has always been in vogue. It’s just that, today, it has been used more innovatively to add an element of boldness,” says designer Nikhil Thampi. Designer Nitin Chawla echoes a similar thought. “Leather depicts luxury and gives a premium feel to a product,” he says.
Leather in Mumbai?
Although the monsoon is on its way out, and the weather will get cooler in the months to come, wearing overall leather still won’t work in Mumbai. Urvashi Joneja, whose latest line has elements of faux leather, suggests that wearing genuine leather pants or overalls isn’t advisable in Mumbai: “But using it in accents or sporting a leather vest can add a lot to a look,” she says. The designer adds that leather embroidery, tassels, etc, are quite fail-safe.
It isn’t just hard to sport leather in Mumbai; it’s annoyingly hard to maintain it. Thampi gives a few tips: “All leather products, be it garments or accessories, should be cleaned with a soft muslin cloth post use and stored in a cool section of the house.” On the other hand, Chawla is of the opinion that faux leather is better suited for Mumbai, as it’s not affected by water, and is more price-effective. In case of a stain, Joneja suggests spot cleaning, instead of cleaning the entire garment.
Wear it right
Designers suggest a few looks that can satiate your leather fetish, without making you sweat:
1 Get linen shorts with leather trimmings teamed with a crisp shirt and a belt. Add funky shoes/boots to create the perfect look.
2 Opt for leather detailing such as a leather pocket, shoulder patches on a cotton jacket, or even just the collar.
3 What’s a fashionista without one leather bomber jacket? Go for a thinner, faux-leather variety.
4 Use leather detailing as patches on pockets (like this Theorem by Nitin Chawla design) and collars.]
5 Just a touch of this material is enough to add spunk to a garment. Try something like this Huemn sweatshirt.
6 Sticking to black or brown can be boring. Try eclectic colours in leather like this olive skirt by Poco & Jacky.