As the leather jacket fast turns into 2014’s must-have trans seasonal cover up, enter Francis Leon, Aussie label extraordinaire specializing in quite shockingly gorgeous coats and leather jackets.
Created in 2010 by a Brisbane collective, inspiration comes from old superhero comic books, the Italian Futurists, urban landscapes and fast machines. It shows. Pieces are at once retro and modern, space age shapes according to turn-of-the-century aesthetics.
The key to Francis Leon coolness lies in the smart mix of tomboy styling, sportswear influences and super sharp construction. No surprise Rooney Mara, Freja Beha Erichsen, Mick Jagger and Charlotte Gainsbourg are muses.
Mechanically panelled leather jackets form the label’s core. Butter soft leathers and fluffy Japanese cottons rub up against slick performance fabrics neoprene and sports mesh to create Francis Leon’s signature textural mash-up.
Details are sexy but they’re also essential. Form follows function at Francis Leon. Jersey sleeve inserts enable comfortable styling; panels are strategically placed across shoulders; pockets are meticulously designed; mesh linings allow breathability.
Pre AW14 promises more futuristic sensibilities, this time inspired by a voyage across the sea (see below), and, for the first time, includes denim. Deep indigo hues on high-waisted and low crutch jeans are a new addition to the repertoire.
The label introduces the collection with an otherworldly scenario. It’s written like a perfume ad but weirdly compelling: ‘Still shaking off the dream-like reality of her life with the circus, Fourteen gazes across the hazy winter coastline, unsure exactly where she has turned up. There is a chill in the air and the breeze off the water has a painful bite.
A huge yacht glistens as it steams up the cool air, unlike any she had seen before. With reflective sails, almost invisible in the skyline, if not for the salt-worn wooden deck. There are people everywhere, dressed in all shades of indigo blue and grey marl … different uniforms for every role – crisp and modern, with a relaxed signature. There is a buzz of excitement and anticipation … a new voyage is about to set sail.
Excited by the prospect of where this strange boat and its cream could be headed, Fourteen sneaks past the crowd, climbs over the deck and down below, out of sight. Fourteen, out to sea and under the radar.’ It actually kinda makes sense.