This alligator vest brings to mind this quote by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow:
“ In character, in manners, in style, in all things, the supreme excellence is simplicity. ”
Simple can be deceptive in what it takes to achieve … from the design and the fit – the creation of the skins to the construction techniques. This alligator vest is “couture” in every way, yet the end result is pure simplicity.
The line of the vest is clean and elegant – the sculpted funnel collar brings attention to the face whether it is worn open or closed and the beauty of the super-fine skins is really allowed to shine. These skins are not only custom dyed, but agate finished as well. This is the exact hand finishing technique used in Hermés finest alligator bags. It is truly a dying art as Hermés has recently begun switching to patent and sprayed finishes that do not require the very specialized skills to do this work, There are simply not enough skilled hands to finish their volume of skins this way…
This vest is cut to be worn as a gilet, or “body warmer” over a sweater in cool fall weather, and under a fur coat when it gets colder. It was very important to the client that this alligator vest could be worn casually and everyday over jeans or leggings. It is meant to be worn and loved for a lifetime.
The color was carefully chosen to work with many, many other pieces in the clients wardrobe, and was based on a beloved Hermés bag.
We did not want the finish very shiny – we wanted a soft patina that gets better with wear. What’s really nice about this finish is, should the vest get caught in a drizzle inadvertently, (which will dull and mute the finish) a gentle buffing with a lint free cloth will restore the gentle sheen. Of course all exotics products should be kept away from water and avoid extended exposure to bright sunlight, but realistically you do the best you can with a garment like this by avoiding rain and heavy downpours. It’s meant to be WORN.
The vest is shown here on a model, who is a different body type than the client it was made for. We are hoping the client will send us a photo of it on, showing the actual fit, because it does fit her beautifully!
A garment, made up in these fine, custom-dyed baby alligator skins is a true luxury. Alligator prices vary according to current market prices, finishing, grade, size of hides, availability, and quantity needed. As with any custom made leather item, the number of skins needed for each project varies according to style, details, size of garment and size of skins chosen.
American Alligator (Alligator Mississippiensis) is regulated under the CITES treaty, and is one of the few exotics that can travel anywhere without accompanying paperwork.