Not to sound like our grandparents – but we’ve been around for a while now. 111 years in fact! Over that time, we’ve sold over 1 million jackets. It seems pretty unfathomable, but it’s true.
Every now and then we like to get a bit nostalgic about the designs of yester-year, so we decided to ask the development team about their favourite pieces from the Barneys archive. The funny thing about leather is that it rarely – if ever – falls out of favour. Whenever we jump into the archive, we find pieces from times gone by that would still look great alongside today’s trends. So humor us, if you would, whilst we take a trip down memory lane.
Amy – Senior Merchandiser
“The first ones that come to mind for me personally, are the Nic(ola), Finery and Kayla. The Nic(ola) in particular was really interesting to work on because it was one of our first forays into gender neutral/unisex items. Getting the right size spec for any leather jacket is a challenge, so to create something that works for everyone was a real tough battle. There was a lot of back and fourth with garment techs to make sure we nailed it. Obviously, what works for some won’t always work for others so it took a while but it was so satisfying when we finally got there.
The Kayla was another interesting one, mainly from an eco-friendly perspective. We’re realistic about the eco-barriers within fashion so we wanted to experiment with veg-tanned leather and recycled trims. Sometimes I think some eco-friendly pieces compromise on style but the Kayla jacket was a simple, classic leather biker. The hardware actually turned out really great, you’d never know it was reclaimed.
Finally, our Finery jacket will always be one of my favourites. It’s still in the show room I think – I want to take it home one day! The leather feels really substantial, almost meaty, it has a great weight to it. You can just tell that it’s a bit more luxurious. I’ll be honest it was one of the jackets that didn’t meet the right price point for the website but maybe that’s why I like it. I must have expensive taste!”
Jen – Designer
“When I first started at Barneys the Aicha really stood out to me, not just because it came in a variety of lovely colours but because I really admired the placement of the croc print/effect panels. I thought this was a really different statement jacket. I imagined styling it with some ripped straight leg jeans and stiletto boots for that cool girl biker look. Croc print looks like it’s making even more of a statement over the next couple of seasons so hopefully we’ll see this style or something similar again in the future!
Another one for me is the Margot. It’s not really an ‘old’ style but it’s one I’m really proud of. When I was developing this I wanted to create something on trend that was a little bit different from most of the oversized leathers I’ve seen out there. Oversized leathers have been trending for a while so I went carefully when selecting the right measurements for the spec. With this style there’s a fine line between actually sporting the oversized trend and not just wearing something that looks too big for you. I also chose a grainy washed effect as I wanted a worn, vintage look and added the buckles on either side for emphasis on the biker aesthetic. What I love the most about this jacket is how it’s a statement piece and can change the whole look of an outfit.
Finally, I’d have to say the ‘Weasley’ is another top choice. I just love the detailing on this style, you can tell it’s well thought out and the quilted sleeves and stitched panelling provide that bit extra. Throughout my time at Barneys this style has passed through my hands quite a lot and I’ve got to see a few different versions of it. From a tan colour, to the brown grainy fine mill quality. By far my favourite is the classic black one. The quality and texture feels amazing and, if styled well, can change the look of an outfit instantly.”
Paul – Sales Director
“The most obvious one for me is a jacket we lovingly called the ‘Voldermort’ during initial development. Myself and Amy went through a phase of naming each collection after iconic characters and let’s just say it came back to bite us. The ‘Voldermort’ has been running for possibly just over 4 years now. The demand just hasn’t died down. It’s a racer jacket, not an asymmetric, which is why it was so surprising for us all. It’s the one jacket that proves that leather really stands the test of time. We’ve made a few minor adjustments here and there, mainly on the neckline buckle, but ultimately it’s the same style today that it was 4 years ago.
The ‘Billie’ was another good jacket to work on because I’d say it was out of our comfort zone as a company. When you’re working with leather, you tend to see the same styles crop up so often that when something different comes along the whole office gets a bit excited about it. I’ve been here 7 years now and it definitely is a piece that stands out for me. The back of the jacket featured a suede knot. The concept was really cool but pulling it off technically was a challenge.”