One of the most mythologiSed moments in rock history incorporated a seriously significant style statement, too. The incident in question occurred back on 1 March, 1969, at the Dinner Key Auditorium in Miami. Jim Morrison, lead singer of The Doors, unzipped his flies while on stage and - depending on whose version of events you believe - whipped out his tackle and pleasured himself in front of a gobsmacked audience, or at the very least, he threatened to do so. Needless to say, the shy and retiring Morrison wasn't wearing a pair of comfort-fit polyester slacks when the impromptu dalliance with his downstairs department occurred, but was instead squeezed into tight and low-slung black leather pants.
The rock star's defiant act (later earning him a conviction for indecent behaviour, and causing the cancellation of the band's imminent tour) can therefore only have further-imbued leather trousers with the sort of dangerous, rebellious, whiff-of-sex connotations at which they had long-since hinted.
Guess what? Various influential men's fashion designers are now pushing leather trousers for the coming season - perhaps hoping to capture some of the aforementioned thrill-packed associations, or simply re-contextualising said garments altogether. Most notably, black leather trousers cut a swathe through the autumn/winter 2007/ 8 collections from Alexander McQueen (where they were super-tight), or Raf Simons (who offered leather suits, with plenty of leather gloves for good measure), to Thierry Mugler Homme (where they were cut low on the waist and devoid of distracting belt buckles). Thomas Engelhart, men's designer at Mugler, confirms, "Leather, and skin, are very important fabrics for the Mugler Man. Skin being his own, of course, and others - well, others coming from the animal kingdom!" He continues, "So, among leather jackets, leather vests and leather shirts, there is always something more exaggerated, something more wicked about a leather trouser. They follow the body's shape well. They're very sexy, and very tough." However, from the Calvin Klein Collection, designed by Italo Zucchelli, a considerably more gentle interpretation has emerged - pale grey leather trousers, no less. "I used grey throughout the whole collection because it is very representative of the brand," begins Zucchelli. "Luxurious leather has always been a part of my wardrobe and I wanted to bring it back in a meaningful way. I imagined a monochrome leather T-shirt and pants to look like a new uniform - the result is sleek and modern in grey."
This all marks the return of a contentious trouser style which last enjoyed a high fashion revival in the early Nineties. At that time, the most trend-setting of urban young men shook off the baggy clown-like attire associated with the late-80s Acid House boom, finding a leaner, meaner antidote in black leather trousers, biker boots and waistcoats. These kinds of styles were being purveyed at the time by designers including John Richmond and John-Paul Gaultier, or via stores such as American Classics and Johnsons.
Leather pants became a key look for men at then-achingly hip London clubs such as Love Ranch - where Kylie Minogue and her leather pants-sporting beau, the late Michael Hutchence, could be seen - before filtering down to the hoi polloi. …