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Item of the week: the leather coat

By Rachel Douglass


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(From left) Image: House of Dagmar, French Connection, Alter Ego

What it is:

The trench coat is a popular staple coat silhouette that has transcended seasons and time periods to still be relevant in the modern day. However, it has seen an update for the coming autumn/winter 2023 season in the form of a material adaptation – particularly with the use of leather or leather alternatives. Many a designer took on the coat shape for their runway collections, experimenting with the material to create unique forms and abstract silhouettes. The style has also previously proved a hit in popular culture, where it has appeared in numerous films making it a notable item throughout many generations.

Image: HE

Why you’ll want it:

While the trench coat remains a popular wardrobe addition within each season, the leather iteration of the style is arguably a more daring take on the look, and therefore would attract those that are willing to step out of their comfort zones. However, while many indeed take on a trendy, fashion-forward appearance, the increasing popularity of such a garment has seen it also adapted for the ‘safer’ consumer, allowing for it to appeal to a wider audience and become an item that can be worn daily. Additionally, recent advancements have also accelerated the accessibility of leather alternatives, meaning that there are a wider range of animal-friendly options readily available for the market.

Image: Yvette Libby N'Guyen Paris

Where we’ve seen it:

The long-line leather coat was seen almost everywhere this season, making it one of the most popular outerwear styles on the AW23 runways. Many came in the form of a topcoat, as seen at Palm Angels, Givenchy and Christian Dior, each showing loose-fit silhouettes with boxy shoulders. Another favoured style was that of the trench coat, which the likes of Ferragamo, Hermès and Ann Demeulemeester played with. Other designers used the leather coat to play with texture and function, with brands like Lanvin, Prada and Victoria Beckham incorporating snake print into their styles, while others like Alexander McQueen and Junya Watanabe implemented oversized pockets and zip detailings.

Image: Madewell

How to style it:

A leather coat is a statement piece in itself, often tying a look together and bringing it to life. The style can also be adapted depending on the wearer, with the more audacious silhouettes giving the possibility of offering up an equally daring outfit underneath. This could include a floaty maxi dress layered with a contrasting sweater vest or wide-legged print jeans with a mismatched shirt. The piece can also work for daily wear, easily paired with simple jeans or loose-fit trousers and a t-shirt while still dressing up the look to elevate a casual wardrobe.

Image: Axel Arigato

The leather coat is a pop culture icon in the fashion world, appearing throughout decades of film making it a popular addition to a wardrobe. Recent advancements have allowed it to become accessible in animal-friendly alternatives and also take on new forms to attract a wider buyer group.

Image: Le Slap

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Item of the Week