Pharaohs and their queens were the first to use it. The royals and senators of Rome soon caught on. And before you knew it, all of the civilized worlds looked upon it as the ultimate symbol of luxury. Yes, we are talking about the ubiquitous appeal of leather to the luxurious elite. Unlike many others whose allure faded with time and changing fashion, leather’s appeal never waned. In fact, it simply grew from century to century while changing in style and form from decade to decade.
Long before it was used as opulent upholstery and luggage, leather was used to clothe the rich and carry their valuables. From the cloaks of kings to the covering armour of the highest generals in the land, from the chatelaine purses of noblewomen to the satchels of wealthy merchants, leather covered them all as an undeniable statement of fashion. Footwear in leather evolved from sandals to dress shoes and increased in their styles and colours through makers like Bally, Salvatore Ferragamo andTod’s, to name a few.
The turn of the 20th century, however, was the dawn of high-fashion and couture as we know it today. Born in that era were fashion stalwarts like Gucci, Burberry, Chanel, Hermès, Prada, Fendi, Coach and Louis Vuitton. Each of them embraced leather in their own signature way through the decades, highlighting its glamorous appeal. The bejewelled chatelaine purses of the 19th century became the Birkin’s, Diamond Forever Classic’s, and Baguettes of today.
Popular culture adopted leather bags as a necessary luxury and christened them a ‘wardrobe essential’. Pure leather handbags and wallets continue to be a coveted accessory for their timeless appeal and sophisticated aesthetic. Evolving from purses and shoulder bags to styles that match every personality, there was soon a leather bag for every bent of mind – think clutches, totes, hobos and satchels, and the diverse array of personalities they depict.
While hide is used in a variety of apparel from pants to dresses, it is most commonly found today on jackets. Taking inspiration from the armour of Roman soldiers, German pilots of the First World War were the first to sport leather in the form of bomber jackets. A decade later, Manhattan coat-maker Irving Schott collaborated with Harley Davidson to design leather jackets for bikers. Rugged enough to survive the harshest winds, these ‘biker’ jackets were quick to become popular, especially among the ‘daring youth’.
By the end of the Second World War, the leather jacket was worn with pride by veterans and civilians alike, but the 50s was when it truly burst onto the world of fashion. This world, it seemed, simply could not get enough of the James Deans and Marlon Brandos. Movie stars, rock stars and celebrities across the globe sported leather jackets in a variety of styles and colours. Soon, the quality of the leather used began to matter far more than the brand that tagged it with quaint Italian makers taking the market by storm. Fashionistas soon realised the beauty in letting the characteristic charm of leather simply shine through.
Whether it's our leather bags or jackets, The Leather Boutique prides itself in giving all the glory to the superior quality leather we bring to you. From design to execution, the hide is held in high esteem and cared for with passion. And rightfully so, given its decorated history!