Hair-on-Calfskin Leopard Coat

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This ‘faux’ leopard coat is made of a beautifully printed hair-on calfskin.

To me the pattern of the leather demanded a somewhat elegant treatment but I wanted to keep it fun and wearable as well.

So, this  leopard coat,  was really driven by the wonderful print on the silky calfskin.  I decided to echo the classic 1950’s trapeze silhouette with bracelet length sleeves,  but I’ve updated it with the sporty details of a yoke with a zip front and rib-trim.  

I loved this leather so much that I bought all that was in stock and I still have probably enough to make one more short coat or jacket out of it, depending on the style and size.

For this Hair-on calfskin coat, I choose an espresso lambskin for the yoke and pocket detailing. 

The yoke is dual purpose- I wanted to cut the flareback in one horizontally seamless panel  and the yoke gives me the room I needed to work with the skins. Unlike fabric, leather skins are limited in size and  dimensions, depending on the skin. So the back pane on this coat would have needed a horizontal seam somewhere so I used this as a design point. 

Also- since I made this leopard coat for myself – and I normally  wear shoulder and crossbody bags. (Which you really should never do with hair-on-calf.)  The yoke gives me a little added assurance that, should I forget to switch bags, the coat is somewhat protected at the shoulder which is the point of maximum rubbing with a crossbody – the hip is next. But I figured if I forget to swap out bags I can alway make sure whatever bag I am wearing is under the coat.  Ideally you’d have a flat bag you can wear under you coat completely- but till I get to the point of making myself one…. 

The Espresso lambskin looks great with leopard, and so would a deep caramel shade if it needed to be mixed with another leather.  A caramel shade would give a very different vibe, Going from the 1950’s to the 1970’s in a single shot!

I also fitted it with what I’ve always thought was a missing element with those ‘bracelet’ length sleeves –  removable rib-trim cuffs!

This way I can wear the coat either the cuffs and shortie gloves (I love a classic driving glove) or one of the longer pair of gloves out of my huge glove collection. (Disclaimer, I used to design gloves, in fact I basically designed myself out of the industry – having worked for every US/NYC based -and some were even made here glove company – till there were almost none left…back in the late 1980’s) 

The coat also looks fab with my Natasha Turban (MTO in Lambskin) and black leather leggings- of course!

This calfskin leopard coat also has 2 roomy interior pockets and a wonderfully, heavy-weight 3-ply silk crepe. Which is one of my favorite lining fabrics. It’s  comfortable, breathable,  and long-wearing adding a little warmth for fall without the sweaty and clammy feel that most synthetic linings provide. 

I alway prefer to line all my garments with a natural fiber for this reason.  In NYC especially in the fall – when you are running around from often severely overheated interiors to the cold outside, it is way too easy to overheat in the poly linings used in far, far too many garments these days.  And, if any garment is going to be worn directly against the skin if it’s gotta be a natural fiber, synthetics are really not good against  the skin- for a multitude of reasons.


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