The Story of our Leather
Private Collection leather originates from leading Italian tanneries, serving international luxury fashion brands, with each piece individually treated to give the product its durability, unique appearance and innate elegance. Handled with care, our various items will age with grace and develop a vintage with seductive warm shades, as well as slight changes in tone and color, earning even more distinctive character in time.
There are as many types of leathers, but only a few are suited to the production of high quality leather goods. The types of skins used are varied and remain relative to the expected aesthetics, but also to the durability as well as to the desired final functionality of a piece.
FULL GRAIN LEATHER – the strongest and most durable part of the hide. The grain pattern in this part of the hide is very tight, and the leather made from this called “full-grain” leather. Additionally, since the grain is so tight, it resists moisture particularly well and its aesthetic will look even nicer over time, sublimated by a patina from being handled.
TOP GRAIN LEATHER – This next best and second strongest leather is similar to full-grain leather, except that the upper surface has been sanded and buffed to take away imperfections. With the top layer removed, the leather will have a more uniform finish, but it won’t be as durable. This leather is what most wallets and bags are made of, characterized by their generic appearance.
SUEDE – Characterized by its velvet hand, suede was originally used for women’s gloves. This leather is made from the underside of the skin, primarily lamb…although goat, calf and deer are also commonly used. Because suede does not include the tough exterior skin layer, it is less durable, but softer than standard “full-grain” leather. Its softness, thinness, and pliability make it suitable for delicate versatile uses. Due to its textured nature and open pores, suede may become dirty and absorb liquids if not treated with a protective layer.
NUBUCK – A type of top grain cattle leather that has been sanded or buffed on the grain side, or outside, producing a velvet-like surface. Nubuck is actually a type of suede and both are generally made of leather like calfskin, sheep, lamb, cow, calf, goat, or deer. At first sight, they both look and feel similar but are in fact created and treated differently. Indeed, Nubuck is created from the outer side of a hide, giving it more strength and thickness and a fine grain. Because of this difference, there is wide price range between nubuck and suede, suede being the cheapest.
NAPPA – A kind of full-grain leather first made in a tanning company located in Napa, in California, USA. Nappa leather is the general term for the particularly soft, chrome tanned, smooth leather of all animal skin types and fields of use. A distinction is made between natural, slightly pigmented, pigmented and sanded leather. Nappa leather is typically dyed so as to obtain various colors. It is very soft, pliable and very durable. It is not hard like other types of leather and does not crease. Goods made of Nappa leather look really beautiful, preserving the original texture and marks or blemishes of the animal skin.
CALF LEATHER – Calf skin is produced from the hide of a calf, particularly valuable because of its softness, comfort, flexibility and durability. It is probably the most common leather, used for high-quality shoes, wallets and similar products, as well as traditional leather bookbinding. The grain is regular, homogeneous, and harmonious and the hand-quilted, generous, voluptuous. The tanning is mostly mineral and gives to this leather the resistance required for easy everyday with comfortable softness as well.
Based on the same full grain calf leather, some of Private Collection sandals are handcrafted with a specific treatment applied on it, a rubberized finish that gives a mat/opaque, modern, elegant, durable, timeless, masculine appearance, different from the traditional shiny finishes. Private Collection initiated this finish, developed especially by the tannery, to highlight the fineness of the grain. To take care of the sandals, just brush them with a soft bristled brush soft, without any use of cream.
DEER LEATHER – Deerskin Leather is historically, used for clothing and moccasins but nowadays, also for a wide variety of items including shoes, coats and luxury bags. This high-quality full-grain leather has a number of benefits. It is soft, durable, breathable, lightweight, thin, and stretchable, with a regular, homogeneous, harmonious grain. The hand-quilted is generous, voluptuous. Another popular characteristic of deerskin leather is that even when it gets wet and dries, the soft texture still remains. Over time, this leather conforms to the body shape.
COW LEATHER – Unlike calf skin, cow leather is firm, stiff and has a high fibrous density, which makes it particularly resistant to traction as well as stretching. The grain is smooth, discreet, erased and the hand is firm, solid, and rigid.
Care: Dirt and debris can be removed with a soft brush. To nourish the leather, a cleaning cloth and cleaning, nourishing non-abrasive neutral cream without silicone could be used. A leather conditioner on the skin can also be used, so that it doesn’t dry out and crack. Keep item in a dry place, preferably not exposed to light and protected from dust. Don’t wash using water or detergents or leave in contact with water for a long time. For most leathers used by Private Collection, a manual massage of the leather alone will re-intensify the pigments which are revealed naturally during the vegetable tanning. If the item has been in storage for a long time, buff the leather with a wool cloth to restore its natural beauty.
GOAT LEATHER – Beyond the smallness of its round grain, which highlights its great finesse, goat leather offers a surprising resistance relative to its delicate thickness. Its fibrous density being extremely high, makes this leather naturally resistant to the multiple aggressions to which a leather article is constantly subject. Goat leather is used on the upside of the lining of our entire selection of lined sandals. The marks of life, such as scars, are more frequent. Therefore, to obtain “full-grain” skins of excellent quality, make it particularly difficult. Its grain is revealed by assisted pigmentation in order to optimize its homogeneity on the whole surface, without letting the slightest alteration visible. The grain is regular, homogeneous, delicate, fine, round and the hand soft.
Care – Remove dirt and debris with a soft brush. Nourish the leather with a cleaning cloth and cleaning, nourishing non-abrasive neutral cream without silicone. However, for this type of leather, do not massage the skin in case of scratch or impact.
LAMB LEATHER – Lamb leather offers unequaled perfection at many levels. Extremely fine, with unequaled flexibility or simply silky, this leather is a true symbol of refinement. The slightest mark of life, even that which may seem the most harmless, will inevitably be visible once transformed into leather. Obtaining “full grain” skins of excellent quality on a sufficiently large surface is therefore particularly difficult, making each piece even more unique and more valuable. The obtained finish is satine, without any form of protective finish, in order to preserve this natural refinement of its own. The grain is delicate, fine and refined, discreet and the hand is soft, fine, porous, velvety and silky. The tanning is mostly vegetable.
Care – The delicacy of this type of skin is such that any type of treatment is strongly discouraged. The marks that will arise, linked to normal use of it, should not be seen as imperfections, but on the contrary, a succession of contributions to the growing uniqueness of each of our creations over time. Do not apply essential or nourishing creams, due to the porous nature of this leather. Such an application would permanently mark it. In the same way, do not massage the leather in case of a scratch or impact.
Exotic leathers owe part of their desirability to the fact that none are really the same. Scales and textures will always be absolutely unique.
OSTRICH – Ostrich is one of the finest, most prestigious, luxurious and elegant, durable leathers. It is soft and supple with some follicles and pores on its surface left by the large feathers of the animal. This leather is unsurpassed for its tactile strength. Ostrich leather can be cut into very thin layers, which remain strong, and allow the creation of lightweight, comfortable sandals. The animals can be bred in many different parts of the world, but the highest quality skins are from South Africa.
Care – Do not leave an ostrich sandal exposed to direct sun for a long time, as the leather will dry out and will be damaged, losing its natural sheen, especially light colors that could fade. Avoid spilling liquids on the leather. Naturally occurring oils in the leather contribute to its durability, preventing cracking, but ostrich leather should be cleaned using a ball of cotton wool, impregnated with one single drop of neutral cream, never applied directly on the skin, as even the best dedicated leather products could darken the leather.
CROCODILE – Crocodile skin is considered as one of the most valuable leather in the world, define by its luxury and unbounded elegance. Only the belly sides and skins of younger animals are usually used for leather items. The back skin is too hard because of the armor, especially on older animals. This is also a reason for the high price of such leathers. Scales are different depending on their location on the skin, in terms of dimension, relief, shape. Scales are larger, rectangular, regular, symmetrical in the central section of the crocodile and become round shaped and smaller in dimensions at the extremities. If a dimple on each scale makes a distinctive exotic appearance on the skin, it is then from a species called Porosus. If not, the species is called Niloticus, coming from Africa.
ALLIGATOR – American alligator skin is classic, durable and versatile. It is considered as the most luxurious skin in the leather market by its rarity and distinguished quality. Mostly coming from south USA, more specifically from Louisiana, Texas, Mississippi, Georgia and Florida, the skin has softer and smoother scales, more than other types of crocodile skins, because the animal is less bony. The leather is strong, supple, durable and one of the most expensive in the world. Each year, between June and July, breeders, pick the eggs from their wild environment (sandy riverside areas) where the females build their nests and bring them for the hatching to the farms. Any natural event, such as floods and hurricanes, typical of this area in the USA, can seriously endanger the whole egg harvesting process and therefore the production of new skins. This uncertainty in the supply of the raw material, contributes to the rarity of alligator skins.
Care – Crocodile and alligator leathers will not stretch or flex very much as scales are hard, and some have a bony material on the back of them. Most all stretch or flex takes place between the scales, on the underlying membrane. Do not leave a crocodile sandal exposed to direct sun for a long time, as the leather will dry out and will be damaged, losing its natural sheen. Crocodile/alligator sandals should never be exposed to liquids which can ruin it and cause it to bubble. Don’t use any kind of chemical product to clean the skin but maintain and nurture exotic skins as they are prone to dehydration. Crocodile/alligator should be cleaned using a ball of cotton wool or, better still, a microfiber cloth impregnated with one single drop of neutral cream (with a minimum of lanolin), never applied directly on the skin, as even the best dedicated leather products could darken the leather. Try to protect your sandals from any falls, as the leather surface could be irreparably damaged or scratched.
LIZARD – Commonly from Southeast Asian countries, the only countries currently allowed to export these materials, lizard skin is extremely versatile. Scales are closely spaced and are lumpy. It is considered as an exclusive leather, which is rare in the market, as the deforestation is drastically the animal’s ideal habitat.
KARUNG – Also called Ayers, karung is an aquatic snakeskin, inhabiting shallow tropical freshwater lagoons and streams in Southeast Asia. The skin is covered with small rough adjacent scales. Fine and flexible, it finds its specificity in its scales as it is shiner than other snakeskin. Delicate, thin and soft, the small hexagonal scales produce an exotic detailed grain.
PYTHON – Python is considered as the most sophisticated and exquisite exotic snakeskin leather, with a sense of modernity, masculinity and sensuality in a matt finish. Its scales, valued for their elegance and durability, open naturally with use, highlighting the natural pattern of the animal. The scales sizes vary depending upon the area of the skin cut and the age of the snake. The scales, of comfortable elasticity, have a “lip” open toward the tail that will grab and aid the snake in crawling. This lip is an assurance having a genuine snakeskin. Delicate but also extremely resilient, it becomes a piece of art over time, since it gains beauty and prestige with the passage of time. Snakeskin is very dry after tanning, especially the glazed skins. The solid colored skins have been bleached to remove the natural color pattern. They are then drum dyed so the color penetrates the skin.
Care – Python is the most delicate skin due to its open scales and porous grain. Don’t leave your python sandals in the sun for a long time, as the leather can get dried out or lose its color. Avoid spilling liquids on the leather as python skin absorbs everything. If the sandal gets wet, the leather can become a little darker but it will still keep its original design. Put the pair in a dry place, away from any direct heat source and let it dry naturally. Don’t use any cleaning agents or products on the leather because they could damage it. Be careful to avoid any damage to your sandals, because, once it is altered, the leather can’t be repaired. Therefore, brushing the scales with a soft bristled brush is sufficient, ensuring not to go against the scales as this will permanently damage the skin.
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