A Curvaceous Panniered Leather Mini Skirt

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This panniered leather mini skirt has a standout shape. 

 The gently sculpted hip of this panniered mini skirt is supported by a silk organdy and nylon underlayer (similar to techniques used in 1950’s couture) and filled out with delicately pleated ruffles in layers. The skirt is almost as light as a feather!

The gentle flare of the back keeps this modern take on a panniered skirt fluid and light and fun to wear.

My client surprised me with her request for this panniered leather mini skirt.  She is very fashionable and has her own unique style that’s not beholden to label or trend.  She like vintage, or maybe even more “antique” influences which she mixes with handbags from The Row and blouses from the Brock Collection.  She also tend to like classic influences that belie her years, since she is younger than most of my female clients.

Maybe it’s because I personally would never want to emphasize my hips!  I’ve had an aversion to that idea since my mom bought me a hallucious grey faux suede and fake fur monstrosity with a 4″ wide band of  fur at the hips when I was, oh maybe 11… I kept trying to stuff that darn thing behind the refrigerator that backed up to the stairwell coat rack in our basement, I hated it so much.  Mom kept digging it out.  I made it disappear for good eventually…

Enough of my fashion phobia story!  I know things have changed- a lot, what with the pontoon- like implant and corset combo  of the Kardashian Klan being touted as beauty’s idea – what’s old is new again / what goes around comes around and all those old clichés.

I do think it’s easier (and way healthier) to achieve strong silhouettes through clothing – corsets are pretty fabulous effect wise,  and can also help your back – but it’s nice to get out of them when you want, just like a bra! 

Strong shoulders are amazing – but no one’s getting implants there  –  a great sleeve treatment will beat anything else hands down…just saying!

And this panniered leather mini skirt,  while nowhere near as extreme as its 18th century counterparts, and only barely approaching the 20th century’s ‘new look’ sculpting, still owes its flirty feel and look both of those eras. 

For me, having a background in costume design and seeing how so many costumes are built and constructed and having had opportunities to study real (current and vintage) couture techniques and  getting to create my interpretation, in leather,  and in a way that is not going to run the sticker price of a luxury car is an exciting challenge. 

The difference between actual “costume” and fashion, is that “costume” by necessity is overbuilt. What is also interesting is that over many years if you watched a lot of period film- that ‘overbuilding’ sort of became the norm. I expect that period film costumes for many, many years were constructed just as stage costumes that have to undergo hundreds and hundreds ow wearing and cleaning cycles.

Milena Canonero’s costumes for Sophia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette were pretty eye opening  for me, with my background of working in Broadway costume shops.  Finally extreme lightness and movement were introduced to the clothes.  There was a little bit of this in Barry Lyndon – but mostly the period costume films I grew up with and loved to watch (and the ones I built) seemed to try and emulate the stiffness of formal portraiture of that period and not the fluid drapery of Gainsborough.

So part of what I like about how this panniered leather mini skirt came out is the incredible lightness of it.  In spite of being leather.  It still has a flow and a crisp airiness. It doesn’t weigh any more than a fabric skirt in the same style would, and actually weighs a good deal less than the 3 wool versions of this skirt I created afterwards  for the same client.

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