Loewe's Stuart Vevers' has it lucky: there's something about cutting even the most conventional garments in luxurious, buttery leather that immediately imbues them with a frisson of sexual perversion. Okay, maybe perversion is the wrong word, but that skin-on-skin action always ends up looking a little raunchy. That's something Vevers revels in - especially when he can contrast the conservatism of the cut with all that skin.
Vevers latched onto the feel for mid-century styles for Autumn/Winter 2011. That's nothing new - we've seen a straight month of regurgitated fifties and sixties couture shapes, but Vevers managed to inject his with new life through those countless and seemingly boundless skins. The opening number, a neat taupe blouse tucked into button-through skirt in tissue nappa, set the tone, echoed in thick hide barrel-back coats, ostrich-puckered pencil-skirts and a trio of vinyl-look patent trenches in orange, red and turquoise.
The leather also gave a sculptural quality to the shapes, which of course taps into the stylistic conventions and taste for the sculptural that characterised the work of Cristobal Balenciaga and his former apprentice Andre Courreges. The former was present in those bulbous backs (next season, everyone in fashion will be a hunchback, mark my words), the latter in the neat above-the-knee A-line skirts standing firmly from the body in everything from flirty pleated and printed silk to furry pony-skin. The clothes themselves were simple - sometimes verging on the simplistic, if truth be told. But the technique throughout was flawless, especially when Vevers really got to work at stretching the world-renowned Loewe ateliers to breaking-point. And, bearing that in mind, the cleanliness of the shapes made absolute sense - when you're embroidering crystals onto leather as fine as silk, it's better not to fuss-up the silhouette.
Vevers injected them all with a touch of the eighties, a look he does well - handbag buckles popped up on the backs of those otherwise-formal opera coats to give them a hint of street, and the cinnamon and black of the luxurious leather garments acted as the perfect foil for what both Vevers and Loewe really do really well: pop-bright, boxy bags and chunky heels. Those were easily summed up in just one word: covetable. Music to any luxury house's ears.