Haider Ackermann’s tenure at Berluti may have been short, but it was certainly memorable. For his final collection this season, star pieces include beautiful tailored leather coats – one (£8,000), deceptively simple and killer-cool, in caramel lambskin with a tie belt; another (£8,000), super-sophisticated, in deep brown lambskin that’s longer and beltless; and yet another (£8,000) that’s black, oversized and belted, with hidden buffalo-horn buttons. All have hand-stitched, concealed seams, either raw or prick-stitched hems, and panel-painted finishes that show off Berluti’s heritage of creating unique patinas.
Berluti’s show signalled a shift away from shearling (which has been the dominant leather outerwear in men’s collections for the past half decade) towards streamlined, tailoredleather coats – with many brands offering significant takes this season. A leather coat may not be for everyone, but for those worried about channelling Morpheus from The Matrix, rest reassured – there’s a rich variety of stylishly cut styles to choose from.
For a sporty feel, Brioni has a car coat (£6,500) in exceptionally lightweight deep mahogany nappa leather bonded onto flannel wool that drapes beautifully – as does Ferragamo’s car coat (£3,660) that bonds black calfskin with cashmere.
Connolly’s Marc Audibet excels not only in drape and cut, but also fabric treatment, and his reversible nappa lambskin and woven-cashmere trench (£6,800) is stunning, with navy-painted leather panels with flashes of royal blue, raglan sleeves, leather pockets with Melton flaps, and hand-carved horn buttons.
Missoni’s grey nappa-leather car coat (£4,990) is also reversible, with exposed seams that reveal a contrasting micro-check, multi-yarn, loom-knitted house weave. Leather is steadily becoming more important at this knitwear house, and marrying hide with a Missoni pattern ties it to the house codes. Meanwhile, Fendi has printed the ponyhair collar of its black lambskin coat (£7,600) with the FF logo.
A leather coat (£5,100) from Prada is in keeping with the utilitarian theme of its autumn collection – roomily cut to the knee, with popper fastenings. The vintage-looking calfskin is light with a double-dyed finish – first black and then either umber brown or slate grey, which is partially rubbed away to allow the black dye to emerge.
A shorter, sportier take on the leather trench (£2,400) comes from Alessandro Dell’Acqua’s No 21; in black or oxblood, it has punched seams in place of belt, storm flaps and elbow patches, and looks great on men of smaller stature.
Some designers have focused on matte leather and Hermès’ handsome bottle-green coat (£11,110) with a removable lining silkscreen-printed with horses, and patinated chestnut calfskin parka (£10,500) are prime examples. (Hermès’ chestnut crocodile parka – price on request – is also a sight to behold.) Matte finishes are also found at Salvatore Ferragamo, with coats in “featherweight” seaweed-green nubuck (£4,195) and hessian-coloured chamois leather (£3,930).
Paul Smith ratchets up the swagger with a maroon coat (£3,095) with a muted lustre inspired by an old Chesterfield sofa, while there’s full-on swashbuckle at Roberto Cavalli with a burgundy leather trench (£3,175) featuring a dramatically cut collar and lapels; a crocodile-embossed, straight-cut leather coat (£4,080); and a caramel double-breasted style (£4,000) with a fringed yoke and studded patterns that cry out for a Matrix Western prequel.
If these coats seem a trifle conspicuous, remember that so once was shearling – now a familiar feature on winter streets. The same is about to happen with leather tailored coats, trust me.