Ariadne, a Couture Python skin jacket

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I call this python skin jacket “Ariadne”

Curved & Sculpted, this couture python skin jacket features the dramatic over-sized belly scales of the natural wild python skins used.

Wild skins are heavier, and much larger than the farmed snake skins used in most garments today, and I made full use of that body to create and hold the shape of this couture python skin jacket.

In the end, this jacket was curvaceous even on the hanger!

Python skin, regardless of weight, holds up like armor.  This jacket was very much like a luxurious light weight armor.  The panels were cut taking into consideration the innate flexibility of each section of the skins and the jacket was constructed in such a way – that, regardless of the size of the scales – or the thickness of the  skins, movement and comfort would not be sacrificed.

This jacket was created out of 2 very large, matching python skins in a gorgeous russet shade. When we made this jacket it was unusual to find matching skins like this on the local market.  Now we work with a tannery in Upstate NY who can create ‘couture’ finished skins in an amazing array of colors and finishes. If two skins are needed in a matching scale – they source them specifically.  Then the skins are dyed and finished to order.

Wild skins are usually over-dyed to highlight the natural markings, and special treatments like  antiquing or subtle metallic dustings can be applied.  Wild python with a shiny finish like this one can be almost armor like while velvety, matte finishes(on either python or alligator) tend to be bit softer.

After making the hard paper pattern for this couture python skin jacket,  (A step we usually forgo with custom pieces in regular leather – but NEVER, EVER when working with exotics!) the skins and pattern pieces are carefully matched  &  marked before cutting.  Sort of like a puzzle – then, everything is checked 2-3 x before cutting the skins. 

In this case – after the pattern was fitted and complete: simply laying out, matching the pieces and cutting the skins took over 3 days.  Before we even started prepping for stitching!  Every step in the creation of an exotic piece takes considerably longer than a garment in regular leather.

It entails a lot of careful hand (and eye) work to build anything in an exotic skin.  The materials have their own characteristics and limitations that need to be carefully considered before a piece is designed, let alone constructed.  Beyond the materials themselves, the hand craftsmanship and sheer skill that goes into an exotic bag or a garment, like this couture python skin jacket is why anything made in exotic skins is the epitome of quality and luxury.

It is my belief that fine materials, like all the leathers I use,  deserve this respect and care in craft,  (as do our clientele.)  I want the pieces to be loved for years and passed on.  A special piece like this is well worth the effort and investment across the board and will stand the test of time.

Python and other exotic skins will react to the elements in different ways, so anyone who wants to keep a garment or bag pristine has to put in some effort, keeping it out of sunlight, away from water and Conditioning … much as you would take care of your own skin in harsh environments. 

However,  as I have found with exotic pieces of my own that I have worn on a daily basis (rain/wind/sun/snow) and (seriously) not treated at all – is that these leathers, too – take on a beautiful and unique patina with age and the elements.  Skins like this couture python jacket is made from will darken and become more textural and primitive with wear and age and no intervention. It’s pretty wonderful to behold.

A couture python skin jacket – made in these very rare,  large scaled skins, and worn with love … is truly the epitome of Luxury.

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