Snakeskin's return proves all that slithers is catwalk gold

Harriet Walker
Wednesday 22 September 2010 00:00
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The fashion world thought the era of bling was over, after several seasons of sensible jumpers and sleek leather skirts dominating the catwalks. But one of the latest trends to slither out of London Fashion Week is snakeskin – on skirts, dresses, jackets. Everywhere in fact, but on the snakes themselves.

The Canadian designer Todd Lynn, who showed his spring/summer 2011 collection yesterday, used snakeskin to create armour-like cladding for tailored jackets and trousers, even as panelling on simple day dresses. He sourced his python from Malaysia, before sending it to Italy to be tanned. And Christopher Bailey showed £9,000 biker jackets in natural python for Burberry.

It has been two years since designers focused so openly on hides. The nakedly luxe qualities of reptilian skin reached an apex with Burberry's £13,000 "warrior bag" for spring 2008, shown just before the effects of the credit crunch were truly felt.

This season, though, plenty of designers have turned to snakeskin – in New York, Michael Kors laid it on full skirts. In London, David Koma (a favourite with Cheryl Cole and Beyonce) inserted snake panelling on to pencil skirts, and Holly Fulton dyed it aquamarine and used it for skater dresses.

Simone Rocha, daughter of John, showed a long-line sleeveless tux jacket in cream python yesterday. One thing these designers have in common is youth and an anti-recession outlook.

It remains to be seen whether the trend will continue in Milan and Paris over the coming weeks, but the front rows will likely be full of well-oiled hides and vipers whatever the designers decide.

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