Some say the love of leather is indefinable. Others say that it feels so good. Girls admit they think they look more sexy in leather, but what is it?
As we have said before, we believe the attraction to leather stems from the 100,000 years or more when it was the principle protective clothing material and the appeal links, quite naturally, with many other natural instincts. As such it is, therefore, difficult for us to assign any one special reason for the attraction to leather.
Nevertheless, there are one or two aspects which spring to mind. First, since it is not woven or totally uniform, there is infinite variation in the manner and details of creases and folds so that these take on an artistic aspect instead of a mechanical one.
It follows from this that the rate of creasing or folding (with body move merit) varies over the whole area of the garment so that reflections and light patterns are intrinsically more fascinating to the human eye than with any man-made material with its customary uniformity. Watch two ladies walking away from you in sunshine – one is wearing a leather coat the other a vinyl or rubber mac. Both are approximately the same fitting and both are tightly belted. As they walk the swing of the body causes the creases in the back panel to alternate diagonally from shoulder to shoulder with each step they take.
The man-made materials tend to “snap” from one pattern to the other and back again.
The leather coat almost “dissolves” from one mode to the other in a wonderful transition, even as one film shot blends into the next in the famous “lap-dissolve”.
To many it is this “living movement”, almost indefinable but undoubtedly there, which they find so attractive – and why not for it does not exist in anything else we wear!
Look at another aspect of our love of leather – the furnishing trade. The durability, quality and luxury of leather still place it top of the list as a covering material for chairs, sofas and desk tops. Plastics, it was once said, would end this domination and, indeed, vinyls have become very popular because of their stain resistance and hard-wearing properties. But leather? Walk through any of the big furnishing stores and see the customers drooling over the leather armchairs and read what is said in their advertising brochures: “The ultimate in sensual living” ….. “nothing wears or feels like leather” ….. “fitting comfort to your body” ….. “loving the luxury of leather”.
There is a “feeling” about leather.
Sit yourself in an upholstered leather chair and then in a tough vinyl one and there is a very noticeable difference which is not explained by the knowledge that the leather is costing so much more. At a recent exhibition of leather furniture from Brazil a salesman explained that on the American continent almost every executive suite has leather furniture because “the strong masculine qualities of leather combined with its comfort help create the correct atmosphere for conducting business”. And he added, in an undertone, “Our research shows that men feel more sexy when they are associated with leather – it has some kind of stimulating effect on the glands and this sharpens their business instincts.” Advertising and salesmanship clap-trap perhaps? But there is an element of psychological truth in leather remaining, despite its price, as the popular choice for office furniture and for His room in the home.
To return to leather in the fashion field: we were talking to a friend of ours, Mrs. Helen Henley, who likes to wear leather and was wearing her leather dress one chilly morning recently. A companion commented, as they were standing waiting for a bus, that surely a leather dress capable of being worn outdoors would be too warm to wear in a centrally heated office? She explained that leather was a perfect material because it “breathed” – a unique quality which even all the ingenuity of a scientific age had been unable to emulate. This was why, Helen went on to explain patiently, leather is chosen exclusively as all weather wear by cows and horses and many other four-legged animals who enjoy the open air life!
For her the attraction of leather is its comfort, combined with its elegance. “Leather always looks good, looks expensive, feels expensive. Mind you, I nearly exploded when a lady sitting next to me in the London underground the other day when I was wearing my new brown goatskin two piece, suddenly said ‘You know, that does look nice. Isn’t it marvellous how clever they are these days to make vinyl to look just like real leather’.
“For a woman, leather has also this great attribute of male attraction. I defy any intelligent women to say they don’t get pleasure from asserting their sexuality, drawing admiring glances from men as they walk down a road, ride on a bus, or eat in a restaurant.
“At a time when the majority of my sex are choosing clothes that are drab and shapeless and then wondering why they have to resort to computer dating services and contact agencies in order to meet – let alone get – a man, leather seems such a perfect material. It outlives all the drab and shapeless garments and looks excellent even in a thunderstorm and gives a confidence that is unequalled by anything else in the female world.”
Need we say more?
– John Sutcliffe