AT.KOLLEKTIVE Returns to Paris Fashion Week With New Leather Collections by Natacha Ramsay-levi, Isaac Reina, Kostas Murkudis and Bianca Saunders

Since its launch in 2022, AT.KOLLEKTIVE has proposed a radical new way of thinking about the creation of fashion and the relationship between designer, object and consumer. Spearheaded by ECCO Leather, the leaders in leather innovation, the project sees an assembly of distinct voices from the landscape of contemporary fashion offer focused, meticulously-crafted collections, all made in the same exquisite material – leather.

The second incarnation of the pioneering AT.KOLLEKTIVE project at Paris Fashion Week arrives now, with new objects of desire by Natacha Ramsay-Levi, Isaac Reina, Kostas Murkudis, and Bianca Saunders. Each partaking designer has, once again, had access to some of the best leather workshops and resources in the world, and has been supported to bring their visions and hopes to life by the meticulous know-how of the AT.KOLLEKTIVE team. This second season, is, like the first, a true celebration of craft, design, creative expression and technical prowess.

AT.KOLLEKTIVE

The brief was always that each designer would be given two seasons to collaborate with AT.KOLLEKTIVE – a chance to play, learn and inspire. This season, the four designers have pushed into new territory, presenting a series of coverable objects that nod to the history of leather, and its many distinct associations – from craft to subculture, timelessness to arch modernity – while proposing new ideas for the future of fashion and design. Many have diverged from the collections they presented last season, choosing to be as ambitious and curious as possible within the timeframe available. The collections offer propositions across various categories, from footwear and bags through to clothing.

Natacha Ramsay-Levi, the acclaimed French designer, took some key signatures from her first season with AT.KOLLEKTIVE – including chunky soles on shoes – and updated them with new lasts, and new colours and details. Her interest has always been with playing with the codes of fashion, and the history of leather classics, and, this season, she offers new takes on beloved footwear styles: clogs, sneaker-heels, flat and heeled boots. Together, they show her skill for playing with proportion, form and function. Ramsay-Levi is fascinated by contrasts: by the interplay between natural elements and the industrial, the rural and the urban, the heritage and the modern. Such contrasts are inherent in the story of leather, and Ramsay-Levi chose to embrace the beauty of these contradictions in the prints which run across the collection. Created by Tchane Okuyan, these prints feature a beautiful and yet often odd assemblage of objects – from flowers to metal piping, figures to vehicles, text to abstract blurs – which play with notions of fantasy and reality, the everyday and the unusual, seedy or strange. They come in a bold array of brights and neons which offer both humour and character. These prints appear on bags, some of which come with striking metallic hardware on the straps (contributing to the theme of juxtapositions that defines the collection) and on clothing silhouettes, which are youthful and fresh, from bustier tops to sporty padded puffer jackets and cropped shirts. As a whole the collection is rich in intriguing propositions and unexpected details, which highlight the varied technical abilities of AT.KOLLEKTIVE. Such skills include crafting fluro tones on natural leathers, and the engineering of a shoe which features a striking metal knot at the heel, a highly complex endeavour.

Isaac Reina, the celebrated Spanish designer, also sought to push the capabilities of the leather experts as far as possible, creating stunningly refined sneakers from single, clean pieces of leather, with the least number of seams possible – just a single fold and line of stitching on each side of the laces. Reina, known for the purity and simplicity of his designs, was interested in embracing change this season, and in exploring a new avenue that was, at points, more novel and eccentric than one would expect from him, and more focused on details, on moments of intrigue within each piece, from woven surfaces on bags to elegant if offbeat curves on the block heel of a women’s heeled sandal shoe. The quality of the pieces is unmistakable, and each speaks of what is possible technically when working with the highest levels of knowledge and skill. Much of Reina’s inspiration came from the history of expertise and handcraft within the global world of making, including the art of Japanese bamboo basketry, where crossed lines and panels allow for adaptable, expandable vessels. His bags, in particular, highlight this reference – available in two sizes, a tote and shoulder bag, they can be modified depending on what objects and belongings the wearer fills them with.

Kostas Murkudis was, like his peers, keen to try something new this season, moving away from the 2D inspirations and explorations of last season to create pieces that are decidedly three dimensional and defined by curves and architectural domes and spheres. His is a very personal collection, which nods to certain formative sites, views and memories of his youth in East Germany. In making this collection, he was inspired especially by the contrasts he encountered while growing up, between the minimal or austere, and the baroque – the different competing worlds and identities and socio-political visions that shaped his surroundings. One sees this clash, between minimal and flamboyant, across every piece in this collection. When considering the baroque, Murkudis looked back to his past dream, on finishing high school, of becoming a student of architecture, focusing especially on the work of the pioneering Italian architect Francesco Borromini, a leading figure in the emergence of Roman Baroque architecture, whose fascination with ovals and circles shaped the city. His influence is seen especially on Murkudis’s shoes, which come with undulating soles, and on bags, which eschew the sharp, formal or square. The tones of this collection are also personal – grey, blue and pink hues nod to the latest colours in car design and therefore to the industrial, another key feature of East Germany as Murkudis recalls it. He was drawn especially to the dusty and crafted a stained pink which runs across the collection, and which especially recalls the streets of his youth. The vaguely punkish, gothic spirit of these tones, are complimented by the garments, including a skinny suit which is both contemporary and timeless.

Bianca Saunders, the celebrated London menswear designer, drew inspiration from the inherent material qualities of leather – its suppleness and malleability. Such thinking contrasts with the more structured silhouettes of last season. Her shoes, a particular focus this season, include loafers and boots, and come with elegant folds and slits which speak to the kinetic possibilities of leather when it comes to draping and shaping. Bags come in a range of sizes and styles, speaking to leather’s ability to transcend occasion, event and context, working for all parts of the day. Garments – including a coat and trousers – are designed to move with the body, enveloping and cascading around the wearer. On the jacket, the collars are exaggerated to become a draped wave – a technical feat which Saunders found invigorating. The project was, she explains, the chance to make use of some of the most imaginative, “maximalist techniques” available within the world of leather – a unique moment to explore all facets of the material’s softness, beauty and movement. It was also, in turn, an opportunity for her to gain experience and knowledge, working alongside experts who encouraged her imagination and celebrated her design language: an incredible resource for a young designer keen to, one day, explore her own path with eponymous leather goods.

Together, the four collections make for a showcase of the best leather goods imaginable. Each unique collection – and every unique desirable object – come together in a photographic campaign shot by Drew Vickers. The images highlight the quality of the pieces, and the unique and varied visions of each designer, which have been allowed to flourish through the dynamism of this special, supportive project – a unique ideas factory that puts design and materials first.

With this sense of exploration in mind, AT.KOLLEKTIVE is also proud to present a series of new footwear propositions, from boots to loafers, crafted in some of ECCO Leather’s most radical and newest leathers. These pieces, titled the Jokes, are available in an array of unexpected hues, from bubblegum pink to bold red. Together, the Joke mules, boots and lace-ups, embody craftsmanship and innovation. Channelling the Scandinavian philosophy of less is more, their silhouettes are pared down to the most minimal forms possible. Uppers are handcrafted in natural leather that is soft and has a glove-like feel, while soles are made using injected leather for the ultimate in ECCO’s innovation.

This capsule forms, alongside each designers’ collection, yet another platform for forward-thinking possibilities.

About At.Kollektive:

At.Kollektive is a radically new proposition for the creation of luxury fashion, interiors and homeware. We challenge the traditional relationship between manufacturers, designers and customers. We are a platform for creative exchange between design leaders, connecting them through material excellence and leather innovation. By opening the door to one of the world’s most innovative leather tanneries, we support the designers’ creativity and invite them to explore. Each collection is edited into a focused range of key pieces, and every item is crafted in the same high-quality material.

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Learn More

atkollektive.com

With love,

FWO

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