Shearling coats – made with the wool and hide of a yearling sheep – were a big story last winter, and you’d have thought that a new trend might have elbowed it to the side. But no. Designers are continuing to innovate with shearling, and it’s showing no signs of stepping out of the spotlight.
Fendi has been taking particularly interesting articles. New fusion hides – such as on an extraordinary “ploughed” shearling and suede bomber (£5,700) and coat (£14,350) – panel strips of leather to stylish effect. On a silvery-grey double-breasted coat (£9,100), laser cutting has created lines that evoke the cut of a suit. And an unusual tailored trench (£5,060) uses lightweight lambskin-printed corduroy with a lambskin lining and a wool trim on the double storm flap, epaulettes, belt and pockets.
Other coat styles being reimagined in shearling include those with hoods – I don’t ever remember seeing a hooded shearling until this season, and now I’ve clocked two. One is from Bally: a grainy-grey nappa-leather parka (£10,500) that has 1970s action-man chutzpah. The other is from Tom Ford: a 1960s-looking shearling duffel coat (£6,490) that’s super-light. A further Ford shearling is based on a denim jacket (£4,690) and has an air of Jon Voight in Midnight Cowboy about it, while another (£5,350) has a cheeky 1960s-beatnik feel.
At Dunhill, it’s the car coat (£2,950) that benefits from the unusual addition of dark-chocolate shearling. Stylishly restrained, it has a neat collar and leather “football” buttons – a classic 1970s shearling coat trait. I also like the brand’s slate-grey shearling coat (£5,490) with a curly fur collar and contrasting light grey calfskin lining.
The double-breasted pea coat gets the shearling treatment at both Gieves & Hawkes, where it is in navy and trimmed with black wool (£1,295), and at Burberry London, where it can be found in natural bonded shearling/suede (£2,995). Taking a somewhat different tack are Burberry’s black and midnight-blue merino/shearling aviator jackets (£2,995), which are fantastically slick.
While the aviator jacket may be a shearling classic, Acne has made it feel both contemporary and fresh with oversized black lambskin (£1,900); it looks great worn with narrow jeans and chunky boots. A more hipster feel comes courtesy of Neil Barrett, whose slick black aviators (£2,100) – with either a black or white collar – channel Lou Reed circa the Berlin years. For swagger with directional style, try Barrett’s sheepskin coat (£2,720) with a large shawl collar. Large collars are also a distinctive feature of Paris menswear brand Ami’s black or white caban hybrids (€1,950). A less dramatic collar is on the brand’s long military coat (€890) – though it’s still a strong look.
There are more aviator jackets and car coats – with a chunky aesthetic – at New York accessories brand Coach, which has chosen to include several shearling numbers in its debut ready-to-wear collection. “Sheepskin feels cool and utilitarian but also luxurious,” says creative director Stuart Vevers. The donkey jacket-meets-military car coat in amber or green (£2,100) emphasises shearling’s inherent ruggedness, while a softness comes through thanks to the refined treatment of the skin. One flight jacket (£1,900) plays with the slant of the lapel and looks especially fresh in olive green, while another in black (£1,900) has striking oversized patch pockets and fastenings. For more super-sized panache (a strong trend this season), I also like the motorbike shearling coat (£2,350) with contrasting panels, which extends the format to mid-length.
Shearling biker jackets may not be new, but some current versions are super-refined. Belstaff’s white or dark-grey Reynold (£2,895), for example, has fantastic contrasting texture panels, while the knee-length white Rochford style (£3,995) has a certain Blade Runner edge. Meanwhile, the streamlined and dynamic, super-lightweight Fraser (£2,200) is classic with a futuristic twist.
More luxury interpretations of biker shearlings (€3,900) can be found at Trussardi. I like the elongated, zip-free models with their cracked panels and soft 1990s-style shoulders, though the double-breasted shearling with the split fur lining (€4,900) is also standout. And lastly, at Ralph Lauren’s Purple Label, alongside black shearling bikers (£3,215), there is the vintage/country-feel Lennox (£6,085) in either olive or brown, as well as a rich olive duffel‑style coat that has taped seams (£5,820), which has a rustic sophistication.