Dezeen Magazine

Sruli Recht uses "world's first transparent leather" for latest fashion collection

Fashion designer Sruli Recht used translucent cow skin leather to create the Apparition collection for Dutch company ECCO.

The collection is the result of a three-year project, during which Recht and a team from ECCO's Netherlands leather lab aimed to create the world's first transparent cow-hide leather.

Although translucent leather had previously been achieved with smaller hides, such as goat and sheep, it had been hard like parchment. Recht wanted to create a supple version that could be manipulated to create garments.

"It came out of the challenge of rethinking leather aesthetics in terms of both visual and touch properties," said Recht.

"We asked ourselves what would be the holy grail of leather? I would say it would be creating a futuristic material that still maintains the properties that we know, love, and require from leather."

After studying what other designers had done to achieve translucent leathers over recent years, Recht began to apply up-to-date manufacturing methods to solve practical issues, such as lasting pliability and water resistance.

The result was Apparition, which Recht named after its "spectral qualities and almost ghostlike appearance". This material was then translated into garments and shoes in hues of amber, green, black, orange and blood red.

"The process after creating a new material, a new class of leather even, is to develop it into objects and show what it can do, and then present it as a narrative: how it moves, how it flows, how it bends, how it feels," said Recht.

"Apparition is such a fascinating and amazingly innovative material to work with, any colour is theoretically possible."

Jerusalem-born Recht is often noted for his innovative – and sometimes controversial – use of materials. In the past, the designer has made use of blackbirds and stillborn lambs, leather made from dolphin skin, and even a slice of skin surgically removed from his own belly.

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