Once mostly relegated to footwear departments and S&M dungeons, patent leather scored a serious fashion upgrade this season courtesy of labels like Versace, Altuzarra, and Salvatore Ferragamo. And with style-setters like Rihanna and Miroslava Duma also taking a shine to the trend, we think this is one look worth trying this fall.
Patent Leather: It's Not Just For Shoes!
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Check out how the pros are working patent into their wardrobes and shop key pieces of your own.
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Nothing says style chutzpah like a fire engine red patent leather pencil skirt. For dinner at exclusive London eatery, San Carlo, Rihanna wore this Mui Miu version with a full-length denim coat (also by Miu Miu), a gray tee, and black suede Christian Louboutin pumps. The mix of materials at play here is genius while the pop star’s matching crimson lip helps the look come off as cohesive.
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Not ready to dive head first into this slick-thinking trend? Test the waters with black patent loafers (i.e. the shoe equivalent of the classic LBD.) We like the pair that model Frida Gustavsson, wore to the Rodebjer S/S 14 presentation last month, which added pizzazz to her otherwise subdued ensemble of dark denim and a Rodebjer Volans Silver Rain blazer ($510).
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At the Versace S/S 14 show in Milan last month, the Misshapes DJ proved tight black patent leather and Catwoman comparisons needn’t be mutually exclusive. The key to her chic yet curve-hugging look is simplicity. The dress has plenty to say so she wisely kept the accessories (also by Versace) low-key. Also, a modest hemline is must with this sort of outfit lest you want to look like a naughty cop on Halloween.
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Take a page from Gevinson’s style playbook and spike a monochrome ensemble with the high gloss sheen of a patent leather piece. At the Guess Portrait Studio during the Toronto Film Festival last month, the Rookie Editor-in-Chief and budding starlet shone in a flouncy skirt by Stolen Girlfriends Club and Alpha 60 Austine Cropped Shirt ($103) which she paired with a Mandy Coon Pontus Bunny Bag ($1794) and Slow and Steady Wins the Race shoes.
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We strongly prescribe tempering this trend with more understated pieces, but those who want to go all out in the drama department should take note of Miley Cyrus’s ensemble at the Myspace launch event at the El Rey Theatre in Los Angeles. What would usually be the statement element (a patent KTZ bomber) is in danger of being upstaged by Cyrus’s equally attention-grabbing T by Alexander Wang bralette, Ashish trousers, and punk-y coif. Note: This look is not for the faint of fashion sense.
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Last but certainly not least, we come to outwear. You can’t really go wrong with a patent black trench like the Salvatore Ferragamo version that street style darling Miroslava Duma wore to the Italian design house’s S/S 14 show in Milan. The coat gets bonus points in our book for doubling as a rain jacket.
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For F/W 13, the fast fashion giant riffed on the trend with charcoal overcoats embellished with patent patches.
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Color us excited for a patent leather bag that isn’t black. This cutie from the Italian label’s F/W 13 line had us at ciao.
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Given its sleek sex appeal, we can’t say we’re surprised Donatella Versace jumped on the patent craze. We’re especially loving these F/W 13 skinny trousers paired up with fall’s other big trend: plaid.
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Joseph Altuzarra dipped a toe in the trend with mod white ankle booties that bear a whiff of Carnaby Street, circa 1966.
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The London-based designer unpacked patent’s more seedy associations with this prim and proper F/W 13 look that feels light years away from the bondage shop.
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High Heel Bobby Patent Lace Up Shoe ($95) in Rey
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Full Midi Skirt in Patent ($76) in Black
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Abstract Applique Fleece Cotton Sweatshirt ($625) in Black
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Landrie Heel ($225) in Black
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Leather Bag ($99) in Black
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Vinyl Mini Skirt ($713) in Red
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Patent Leather Gloves ($595) in Black
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Shiny Vinyl Trouser ($877)
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Patent Leather Trim Jacket ($950) in Black
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Slim Patent Belt ($40) in Saltwater Grey
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Patent Leather Pumps ($685) in Black
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Agua Vinyl Straight Elina Skirt ($400) in Black
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Fringed Patent Leather Brogues ($680) in Black
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Liquid Color Satchel ($125) in Violet
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Synthetic Patent Leather Studio Jacket ($119) in Black
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Patent Leather and Jersey Skirt ($1200) in Grey
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Palma Patent Dress ($166) in Black