Hair-on-Calfskin Jacket-1970’s Style redux

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This Empire Cut Hair-On-Calfskin jacket was inspired by the beautiful skins I was able to source. 

And by a healthy dose of  1970’s boho / rock style.

To this day our love for 1970’s fashion endures.

So many elements of 70’s fashion remain relevant today.  Interestingly a lot of  1970’s fashion was influenced by the 1930’s.  This was an era that featured long lines and skimming shapes, which gave clothing a freedom of movement and a completely new ‘casual’ elegance that had never been seen before.

I was inspired by this ‘casual elegance’ as well as some real examples of wonderful 1970’s leather work I have seen over the years.

The hand-cut appliqué detailing on this hair-on-calfskin jacket is very much a nod to the 70’s,  as is the unlined finish, I really wanted to highlight the beautiful double-faced skins.

I envisioned a coat that could be worn through the same Spring and Fall temperature ranges that you would a good denim jacket.  But, because it’s not denim – this jacket can be worn in more professional and dressy situations.  The skins are lightweight, and the back sides have a smooth nappa finish, which make this jacket just as easy to wear.  And when it’s cooler, adding thin layers or a scarf are all you’d need.

Hair-on-Leathers these days comes in all different weights and specialty finishes.  Double faced skins like these are wonderfully versatile,  but even when working with skins that require lining there are so many beautiful and light weight options – ranging from natural markings that have been over-dyed. From printing to acid washing,  to foiled and carved and acid washed.  The range of treatments and colors, available would surprise you.

Many of the bolder treatments are usually done on cowhides and meant more for rugs and home decor,  but from time to time these interesting treatments appear in the lighter, garment weight calfskins – laser cutting the smaller calfskins are another treatment you often see in these skins. And  Often used for handbags.

For this hair-on-calfskin jacket, and much of my garment work,  I like to stick with the classics and add embellishment within the construction or finishing of a piece.  This is what I did here,  finding a leather that matched the backs of the skins and using that to define the design.  It also created the finishing and dictated the construction techniques I used.  And, all of it is definitely inspired by the techniques of 1970’s leather work.

The Empire lines of this jacket skim and elongate the body.  The softly belled bell sleeves can be opened on warmer days, or you can wear longer gloves under them on cooler days.  Opened up,  you are able to carry a bag over your arm without impacting the skins. With any fur,  less rubbing and friction is better for the skins over time.  A shoulder or crossbody bag should be avoided – wherever possible with any fur, be it a hair-on-calf or a fine fur. 

This hair-on-calfskin jacket makes simple jeans and boots look striking.  And  –  because it’s made to last at least as long as those collectible 1970’s jackets (and finished much better)  someone will likely be wearing it and loving another 50 years from now – long after I am gone!


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