Fashion & Beauty / Collections Digest

The Enduring Appeal of Suede

Following on from the menswear collections in Milan, we consider the timeless appeal of suede

Johnny Depp, 1989
Johnny Depp, 1989 Photography by Kevin Mazur

Indiana Jones retrieving has suede fedora with seconds to spare from underneath a closing door during The Temple of Doom (1984) is an iconic piece of cinematography that forever immortalised the wide-brim, soft hide hat. Then there is the poignant image of Heath Ledger staring pensively out across the wild blue yonder as Ennis Del Mar in Brokeback mountain, or Owen Wilson as Elie Cash in The Royal Tenenbaums in a suede fringed jacket. Elvis dedicated an entire song to a pair of blue shoes in the soft hide.

The appeal of suede lies in the fact that it acts as a soft balance beside denim and biker fashion – a hybrid between velvet and leather that crops up time and time again on the catwalk, most famously last spring when Hedi Slimane shot his S/S13 Saint Laurent collection on a group of American cowboys. While there is a great appeal in the fast-paced, John Wayne shoot-outs, there is also something deeply heroic imbued within ranch attire. It was also championed by the likes of Bob Dylan and The Rolling Stones during the rock 'n' roll decadence of the 1960s and 1970s: the suede jacket that John Lennon wore for the cover of Rubber Soul by The Beatles in 1965 is now a piece of historic musical memorabilia.

"With its modern day cowboy appeal, suede looks set to beguile another menswear season"

And indeed, nobody does leather quite like the Italians. Suede was incorporated into the S/S15 menswear shows in Milan by the likes of Fendi, Missoni Versace, Neil Barrett and Bottega Veneta. Eremenegildo Zegna featured rodeo-style suede blousons and sandals worn with neck scarves while Tods channelled spaghetti western with suede trousers and jackets. With its modern day cowboy appeal, suede looks set to beguile another menswear season. Here, AnOther consider the collections, and some of our favourite iconic suede moments.

Text by Mhairi Graham