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What is Spazzolato Leather?

Well, turns out it is more than just leather with a little “extra” attitude. Spazzolato Italian leather simply means “brushed”. (Whew, my handbag won’t be trying to out drama one of my spaz attacks after all!) Instead, the spunky name is simply referring to an alternative to patent leather that offers a full-grain leather with a high sheen (just not quite as glossy).

Traditionally, the majority of full-grain leathers, in which the skin's pores can be seen, are dull after the tanning process. Many heat burnishing steps (to close the pore structure), creams and waxes for color diversity and depth, as well as a lot of hand and mechanical polishing wheels, are used in the shoemaking process to produce the shine.

Does that sound like anyone else's evening skin care routine?

All jokes and coincidence aside, a full grain leather that has been properly colored to cover any inherent flaws in the hide and allowed to dry flat in order to maintain structure and a smooth, clean finish is referred to as "corrected" leather. Instead of letting the skin be hand-polished by the shoemaker, the skin is then sprayed with a varnish finish to provide the consistent sheen.

In addition to its attractive appearance, spazzolato gained enormous popularity in footwear, handbags, and small leather products for its durability. Leather that has been polished serves as a natural weatherproofing and is frequently naturally water resistant. Although patent leather is the most popular and has a semi-gloss finish, it is now frequently viewed outside of black-tie attire as being a bit flashy and old-fashioned. Most designers now choose a slightly more subdued variation of this pre-polished leather as a go-to material and as a preferred substitute for glossy patent.


Since the rectified nature of the color does not particularly lend itself to more natural browns and tans, most designer labels only sell versions of spazzolato in black. The style gained traction in the 1990s European clean-lined minimalism movement, when brands like Gucci, Prada, and Helmut Lang all introduced variations on Spazzolato shoes and bags. Most people connect this style of "corrected" leather with high gloss patent leather, although the semi-gloss finish was a more stylish, subdued version of that leather.

In addition to its attractive appearance, spazzolato gained enormous popularity in footwear, handbags, and small leather products for its durability. Leather that has been polished serves as a natural weatherproofing and is frequently naturally water resistant. It only takes the occasional polish with a towel or little leather conditioner to keep the semi-gloss luster.


Considering this seems to be the leather of choice for our 1990s loving "X" generation—it's no wonder that it has gotten our attention as one of our favorite things.

 

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