There aren't many fabrics that have such loaded associations as leather. If tweed is synonymous (whether accurate or not) with bookish librarians and English aristocracy, then leather sits at the opposite end of the spectrum with an altogether more rebellious crowd. From Marlon Brando and James Dean to Blondie and Joan Jett, it has always been the unofficial uniform of the cool kids. Leather has gone through a variety of guises since the anarchic '60s and '70s (a biker jacket is now a mainstay in most wardrobes, for example), however, this season has revealed a new side to the enfant terrible of the fabric world.
Thanks to brands such as Kitri and Nanushka, the leather dress is having a moment in autumn/winter 2018. Forget skintight, dominatrix-style numbers—the leather dress 2.0 is elegant and refined, rendered in buttery soft leather (both real and faux) that drapes flatteringly on the body. While real leather styles still have plenty of mileage, this year, the fashion crowd has gone wild for vegan leather. For example, Nanushka's faux-leather Penelope dress was spotted everywhere at fashion week, with its distinctive wrap style and calf-grazing length.
"Sustainability is a concept close to my heart, as it's very important that we take care of our planet and we protect it for the next generations," explains Sandra Sandor, founder and creative director at Nanushka. "Vegan leather is part of this process. It doesn't harm any living creatures and you don't have to compromise. You can be still stylish in our certified vegan leather."
The high street, meanwhile, has also offered up plenty of affordable options. Warehouse's faux-leather dress feels very now (wear it with a white polo-neck for Calvin Klein vibes). For a more minimalistic interpretation, COS's cream-coloured shift is so chic. Scroll down to shop our full edit of leather dresses.