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The vinyl trousers: from the runway to the high-street

By Léana Esch

Jul 22, 2021

Fashion

Courrèges Spring/Summer 2022; Louis Vuitton Resort 2022; Saint Laurent Autumn/Winter 2019/2020

Fashion’s boldest trends naturally trickle down from the runways to the streets season after season. The latest one? Vinyl trousers. They’ve been part of the fashion scene for years, but their shiny appeal has made a bigger appearance in the latest collections. FashionUnited dives into a trend that packs a punch.

Patent leather, glossy fabrics and vinyl have been part of avant-garde fashion and runway collections for decades. Courrèges introduced these unusual fabrics to fashion back in the 1960s and they have remained a constant ever since. Vinyl trousers stand out for their eye-catching look and we’ve seen them make their way to more and more brands’ offerings.

Balmain presented some options for the Winter of 2019, yet it’s Saint Laurent’s Autumn/Winter 2019/2020 collection that really set the trend for success. Paired with masculine double-breasted blazers and oversized furs, Saint Laurent’s vinyl trousers mostly came in black. Some colourful iterations were introduced too, either in raspberry tones, bright blue or purple hues. The glistening fabric of vinyl was matched with cosy winter tweeds, plaid prints and large bows to soften it all.

Designer Anthony Vaccarello actually infused some newer vinyl styles for his Pre-Fall 2021 collection, pairing tailored coats with patent trousers and pussy bow black and white blouses. It resulted in androgynous and sleek silhouettes that embodied the brand’s Parisian aesthetic with poise.

Many designers have recently showcased their own version of vinyl trousers, whether it be Lapointe and its cropped tan one for Resort 2022 or Isabel Marant and its shiny indigo style for AW2021.

Isabel Marant Fall/Winter 2021-2022; Louis Vuitton Resort 2022; Ninamounah Autumn/Winter 2021-2022

While it does seem to be a bold piece not anyone would be willing to pull off, vinyl trousers have slowly been introduced to the collections of premium brands and as of late, high-street retailers. Kassl Editions made a straight-leg casual black option, MM6 Maison Margiela introduced a masculine-inspired design and Commando now has a vinyl version of its signature faux leather leggings in its permanent collection. On the high-street, retailers from Asos to NA-KD offer mostly skinny and leggings styles in black, but more colourful designs - think red and bright pink - are slowly making an appearance.

Vinyl dresses up an outfit

With more affordable labels helping spread the trend, vinyl and patent bottoms become an easy choice to dress up an outfit. Mix them with chunky knits and oversized cardigans in the winter or pair them with a simple button-down to transition into autumn. Even if black comes as the safest option and is a timeless buy for the years to come, consider colour to brighten some neutrals or match with other tonal shades. A pair of sneakers or pared-back flat sandals will easily dress them down for a day-time look.

The vinyl trousers might still come as a fashion-forward piece, but brands have managed to make it a fashion statement that’s here to stay -- and you now have endless options to choose from for your store.

All images: Catwalk Pictures