Tough luxe: Leather jacket’s trend evolution (thx Acne Velocite)


Acne’s Velocite jacket at Copenhagen Fashion Week, courtesy Adam Katz Sinding – Le21ème

Copenhagen Fashion Week recently reminded of two things. Firstly, just how casual fashion is at the moment (and by fashion, I mean the stuff we actually wear rather than the stuff that gets photographed for magazines).

Secondly, the importance of the leather jacket as the standalone trend piece. It’s the fashion gift that just keeps on giving.

The key leather jacket trend for now is Tough Luxe, something that’s been bubbling under for a while and is ready to go mainstream. The standard bearer is Acne’s Velocite jacket (a snip at £2,000).

shearling board

Ece Sukan street shot wearing Acne, Carven at VeryExclusive, Topshop, at Copenhagen Fashion Week, at Copenhagen Fashion Week, Karen Millen, street shot, Yeezy AW16, me in Balenciaga in 2005

The influence of that jacket is being felt big time at the moment but its design features create two trends out of one.

At one extreme it’s summed up by an oversized aviator with a boyfriend cut (or just bought two sizes too big) like Karen Millen’s version. Get it right and it can replace your parka. It can be cropped for warmer weather and even coloured in brights or pastels, but it still has to be thick and heavy like Topshop’s jacket by Glamorous (at only £90).

At the other extreme, it’s an evolution of the biker. Here there’s no attempt to keep it traditional or feminise the cut. Instead, oversized and heavy (as at Topshop Boutique), and with a vintage feel (or even real vintage as at Asos) look right. Or perhaps it’s cut in nubuck-type suede or shearling as at Sandro. It could be fitted or boxy with a shearling or Mongolian lamb trim (as at Warehouse for £65), or layered over jersey so it feels more tough sports luxe than biker chick.

Some of that strand of the trend is also channelling the sublime Balenciaga AW04 collection with Karen Millen (again) doing an excellent update.

biker board

Karen Millen, Copenhagen Fashion Week, Sandro, Asos vintage, Warehouse, Topshop Boutique, Maje at Selfridges, Balenciaga AW04

And let’s not forget the gilet, which is a sub-branch of the tough luxe trend that has a warmer weather edge. Coach did it best for SS16, taking tough and heavy leathers and working them back with florals.

The interesting thing about this trend is that none of it’s new, but the Acne jacket has been a big catalyst in making all those pre-existing elements feel new. Elements of it have been seen for several seasons but it seems to be gaining that momentum (courtesy of street style stars at fashion weeks, celebs, designers and high street labels) to make it feel right just now. And I think that feeling is going to extend into next winter too.

coach board

Coach SS16

There are plenty of good pieces to choose from in-store at the moment if you can’t afford £2,000 for an Acne original. If you act fast, you can still pick up AW15 pieces in the sales that will feel totally on-trend for AW16. The Carven jacket at VeryExclusive may be nearly £600 but it was just short of £2,000 to start with and the Maje jacket at Selfridges has come down by a similar amount!

All Copenhagen Fashion Week photos are by Adam Katz Sinding – Le21ème

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