The setting seems a most unlikely one for anything as delicate as suede, particularly suede that has been sheared to tissue thinness and given the supple sheen of silk. Yet suede—as it has never been seen before—is the newest "old favorite" around the international racing pits, where drivers from veterans like Stirling Moss to young aces like Roger Penske (left) are wearing new leather jackets over their racing coveralls.
For women the new suedes have the added dash of a just-over-from-Europe look: suede has become a mainstay at the boutiques maintained by the couture houses of France and Italy. But the big news is in American suedes. Lighter weights have been made possible by the use of high-speed circular saws that cut through leather skins; and finishes such as Scotchgard, a water-repellent, and Quilon, an oil-replacing chemical that makes it possible to have the new suedes dry-cleaned anywhere; formerly, leather specialists had to restore the oils removed from skins in cleaning. New tanning processes keep downy-surfaced skins from crocking, or shedding, and have helped make this delicate leather more durable. Dye processes have been improved, too, and the new suedes can be had in delicate pastels. Their cashmerelike surfaces have been napped with sandpaper, and surface soil can be removed the same way. Pressing is simple, with a dry iron on the wrong side.
The versatility of spring suedes is shown on these four pages at Alfred Momo's garage in Queens, New York City, where many outstanding U.S. drivers have their cars prepared for racing. Cooper Driver Penske (SI, July 10, 1961) wears a sueded lamb jacket by Breier of Amsterdam. It has the collar-band cut of racing drivers' coveralls and elasticized knit cuffs. The spring-hued dress in silk-lined tissue suede worn by Wilhelmina Behmenburg (right) is Leathermode's; behind her are one of Alfred Momo's Jaguar XK-Es and a crimson Maserati 3500 G/T.
Suedes are already moving into stores at almost double the rate of last year. Jette Seear's tricolor suit (left) from Roger Van S combines a tissue-weight suede blouse with heavier suede jacket and pleated walking skirt.
Barbara Feldon's suede pantaloons (right), designed by Bonnie Cashin for 'Philip Sills, are just the right length to Stay off the grease-stained floorboards of a garage, are worn here with a Danish hand-knit sweater from the same firm.
WHERE TO BUY
Breier of Amsterdam suede jacket on page 52 is $40 at Bloomingdale's, New York. The pink dress by Leathermode is $70 at Kaufmann's, Pittsburgh and John Wanamaker, Philadelphia. Chiffon square is by Bersoie, patent spectator pumps by Pappagallo. The Roger Van S suit (opposite) is priced in units: blouse $30, skirt $65, jacket $70; all are at L. S. Ayres, Indianapolis and Dayton's, Minneapolis. Jersey beret is by Jauntee. On this page: Sills pantaloons, $65, and cardigan, $55, Lord & Taylor, New York.