Visitors also showed a distinct preference for authentic shades of colour, although this did not stop there being plenty of interest in pastels, old rose and blues.

The main objective of tanneries at the moment is to satisfy all the prestigious fashion and design houses in search of perfection.

Read on for SIC’s survey of the hits for the Winter 13-14 season, the finishes and colours that found favour with the show’s visitors and take inspiration from the new ideas and perspectives to come.

The hits for Autumn-Winter 2013-14

Winter 2013-14 will be decidedly natural. For all types of skin, authentic, unadorned looks, where all the beauty and fragility of the leather shine through, are the most in demand by visitors.

For calfskin in particular, smooth articles with no finishes were very popular. These beautiful classics, as the specialists like the Haas or Roux tanneries call them, proudly display the natural irregularity of their grain. But the preference is for supple skins, soft to the touch and with a heavy drape. A notable exception was Officina delle Pelli, whose elephant print calf split was its greatest success.

Lamb also received the most accolades in its dipped versions, which are simultaneously simple, untouched and perfect. However, some variations captured the attention of buyers, like the prints that are chiselled at the surface by Officina delle Pelli, a bullock nubuck from Rémy Carriat, the “feather” finesse of Riba Guixa and more generally the stretch leathers. And on the double-sided market, the Toscana, like the version produced by Gunduz Kurk, was the star.

Natural, unspoiled goat skin was also popular, revealing its very specific grain in the process. However some visitors appreciated the metallic or double-sided, two-tone versions, or a suede with a relief-print in resin (Officina delle Pelli).

Fox and mink remain the leaders in the fur section. But skins with curls or long hair (Mongolian lamb, Chinese goat) were a roaring success.

In the exotics section, alongside the essential crocodile and other reptiles, we saw renewed interest in shagreen, salmon and perch.

Superb finishes

Less is More, the famous motto of the architect Mies van der Rohe, could be the slogan for this Winter 13-14 season.

“As little finish as possible” exclaimed the tanners in unison, when asked to summarise demand over the three days of the show. However, as the exception that proves the rule, some more elaborate styles emerged from this vast ocean of calm, voluptuousness and, above all, luxury! Nubuck was popular with some visitors, in bullock from Remy Carriat of course, but also in printed lambskin. In sheepskin, visitors prefer the suede to the nappa look on the flesh side. The patent calfskin from Dias Ruivo was “very popular”. The metallic finishes, particularly on goatskin and fish leathers, also delighted many visitors.

Colour trends

In terms of colour, visitors also preferred natural shades. The most in-demand tones were chocolate, brown, gold and cognac. “Brown was even more popular than black”, Dias Ruivo told us. However, pastel colours softened these sombre winter shades. Pink, in aged tones, was very popular with designers.

And there was a tidal wave of blue in shades of indigo, navy and also petrol.

New ideas and projects in the pipeline

The reactions at the show have inspired tanners to conceive projects that are more or less avant-garde, but always judicious. In light of the positive reaction from visitors to the magnificent perforated skins they produce, the ALRIC tannery is planning to develop the range. Another specialist of dipped lambskin would like to enhance the protection of the leather, a difficult if not paradoxical task. Alongside the beautiful matt skins they produce, RIBA GUIXA have noted that a demand is emerging for shiny, iridescent and metallic finishes. Metallic finishes that REMY CARRIAT is thinking of officially including in his range of bullock leathers. Calfskin tends to be heading for even greater softness, even if some decorate it with a mechanical grain that is more regular than the natural one. At GUNDUZ KURK, the demand for long-haired goatskins is food for thought. For one exhibitor, half calf, which is both easier to handle and stronger, deserves more attention. The opposite applies for crocodile skins, where skins can never be too large.

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