A blonde, obviously well-off French woman walks into a brothel wearing a shiny patent leather trench coat, and not much anything else. That was Catherine Deneuve in Belle de Jour (1967) styled, of course, by Yves Saint Laurent. Exactly 5 decades later, designers are still taking sartorial cues from the iconic film, employing vinyl and plasticky materials to achieve a contemporary sex kitten look.
Chanel – Barbara Bui
For the next season Paris-based label Barbara Bui proposed off-shouldered leather tops with ruffled details, yielding a look that was both tough and feminine. Meanwhile, amidst the weather-appropriate looks at Chanel was a black leather trench coat with patent leather sleeves worn with water-drop crystal earrings, sunnies, a plastic bucket hat, and the classic Chanel knee-length boots, also in plastic.
Ellery – Mary Katrantzou
Over in London, Kym Ellery had roomy trousers, button-down shirts, and asymmetric wrap skirts rendered in a shiny, liquid-like vinyl fabric. The patent leather trench coat also surfaced at Christopher Kane, cinched at the waist and worn over a lacy white blouse. At Mary Kantrantzou, the shiny material is given a psychedelic spin, with the first model marching down the runway, clad in a lemon yellow bell-sleeved top and a color-blocked skirt.
I cannot speak for you, dear reader, but for me, I am not waiting for Spring to get on this trend. Already I spotted a pair of vinyl trousers in Topshop (although, I would have loved it more in a non-skinny jeans silhouette), and a Mugler jacket in a supple, midnight blue vinyl leather trapped in a vintage store somewhere in Paris (I am not telling you where because I am coming back for it soon).