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Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › Definitive Exotic Hide Identification Thread: Post your Hippo, Turtle, Gator, Phoque (you!), etc. here
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Definitive Exotic Hide Identification Thread: Post your Hippo, Turtle, Gator, Phoque (you!), etc....

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
Recently I had a slight adventure trying to identify an odd leather hide, and I thought it might be useful to start a relatively organized, definitive Exotic Hide Identification (EHI) thread here. We've had numerous threads in the past devoted to single items, but I thought one thread might be a good resource for members who find random, unique things. We all know what gator or ostrich looks like... but what about porpoise? Seal? Moose? Hippo? Elephant?

A few of the pics are my own, and others I found on the interwebz.

I'll start with several unique hides:

Walrus Skin (tricheco):
1SYjc.jpg
NOTE: other areas from the walrus have a more grained/"rougher" hide. I'm not sure which part of the animal the above hide comes from... but given the prominent follicles, maybe the softer underbelly area? not sure.
For example, see here (has a very different appearance, grain, etc.)
POvw4.jpg

Hippopotamus:
Thick lines, similar to course adult bull hide, but thicker/gnarlier. I've seen it both as a regular leather, and "sueded":
vEj0k.jpgxDTDw.jpg

Elephant:
Also thick lines, but depends on the area of the animal from which it comes. Tends to have tiny pockmarks all over the surface, instead of smoother skin beneath the wrinkles.
tB7hE.jpg5GZMe.jpg

Elephant and sharkskin wallets (my own pics):
sFTiO.jpg

Sea Turtle:
4F8MV.jpg 4OoAG.jpg
Looks at first like a "cross" between alligator and snake. But, in person, the scales tend to be smaller than alligator. I've seen wallets and shoes in this hide in Japan; they're quite lovely but look rather delicate (the wallets I've seen tend not to age well, IMHO.)

Emu:
Like ostrich, only the quill is over the whole body, and the follicles are smaller. The hide is slightly rougher looking than ostrich.
9cGXP.jpg

Shark:
I tend to mistake this one a lot for hippo, walrus, seal, etc. A very thick, sturdy, gnarly sort of hide. Very tough. They used to cover the handles of samurai swords in this stuff. Very unique in person, but not particularly "elegant" for smaller leather goods.
iGYff.jpg

Lizard:
WBGgK.jpg
DSC02753.jpg

What others? Feel free to post individual items in various hides.

Others I've seen, that others can add if they wish: Fish leather (salmon, etc.), Chicken, slink (fetal calf), stingray, water buffalo.
post #2 of 45
Excellent, excellent thread! This is a really good resource. Isshy should come through with some other great examples to add.

Just one correction - this is actually ring lizard, a variant of "plain" lizard due to the natural circles in the pattern :
500
post #3 of 45
Does shark hide come mostly from a particular species, or from many different ones? It seems like there's a good deal of variation in the shark I've seen, but I'm not sure if they're really different species or just different areas of the shark or different tanning methods.
post #4 of 45
this thread made me think of a creative way to swear in thread titles happy.gif

anyway, not sure if this qualifies as exotic but here's a deerskin leather jacket. don't think it can be ID'ed differently from cowskin from a photo, but it has a distinctive feel to it when you touch it. kind of more slippery

IMG_8168.JPG 5215k .JPG file

IMG_8164.JPG 4044k .JPG file
post #5 of 45
Well this is boring compared to yours, but here's Louisiana alligator:
500
post #6 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by garymyman View Post

Well this is boring compared to yours, but here's Louisiana alligator: Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
500

Not necessarily. I actually think it looks cool. biggrin.gif It looks very very robust (for some reason don't ask me why) My small contribution below is an alligator leather strap from my recently purchased Longines watch. I'll look up what kind of alligator it actually is.

500
post #7 of 45
This used to be a beautiful Coho but it pissed me off so I had it killed and turned into a wallet at a tannery near Sitka a couple of weeks ago. Fish are assholes.

No good light in Seattle today...
p1000626b.jpg

p1000627o.jpg

edit: after posting these I realized they aren't quite big enough to see much detail. I'll take better/detailed pics if anyone cares to see them.
post #8 of 45
p1000629g.jpg

I'm glad you made this thread, I hadn't really taken the time to look at this leather. It looks like sinewy chainmail, I like it. Story behind it, little boutique 22 passy charter out of Seattle - so we could go anywhere, few well-to-do fishermen on board. I was trying to feed some ducks bread (still vegetarian-17 years now denying the human condition!), fish was being aggressive with baby ducks. Now that fish is my wallet. Skin came from in front of the dorsal(?), between the fin on the back and the head. They said that if I didn't want to eat it that was all I could do with it, kept a bit and the rest went to rats.
Edited by hossoso - 7/17/11 at 1:22pm
post #9 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpooPoker View Post

Excellent, excellent thread! This is a really good resource. Isshy should come through with some other great examples to add.

Just one correction - this is actually ring lizard, a variant of "plain" lizard due to the natural circles in the pattern :
]

Thanks, Spoo, for the added info! Would love to see some of your exotic pieces. Surely you must have that secret, hidden Versace piece in unicorn hide? You know the one... from S/S 2003. wink.gif
Quote:
Originally Posted by dsmolken View Post

Does shark hide come mostly from a particular species, or from many different ones? It seems like there's a good deal of variation in the shark I've seen, but I'm not sure if they're really different species or just different areas of the shark or different tanning methods.

Though I'm NO expert at all and am just posting from my experience (mostly since coming to Japan, where exotic hides are very popular and very few laws prohibit even rare animals from being harvested), I've found this with most hides, and would say it is probably a combination of various species, location of hide taken from the animal, and also just the variances in the individual animals themselves. For example, with the walrus posted above, I'd never seen one with the pronounced follicle like that. Older walrus luggage/doctors bags can be seen on google image search easily, and they're very thick/wrinkled. This one has no wrinkles. In fact, the original seller of the bag thought it was ostrich. My only guess is that perhaps the hide was taken from different places (perhaps back vs. belly, chin/chest area vs. sides, etc.)

This variation in species, location, etc. was one reason I decided to make the thread. Hopefully over time we can get a comprehensive list of examples of different types and variations even within the same hide.
Quote:
Originally Posted by hossoso View Post

[MG]

I'm glad you made this thread, I hadn't really taken the time to look at this leather. It looks like sinewy chainmail, I like it. Story behind it, little boutique 22 passy charter out of Seattle - so we could go anywhere, few well-to-do fishermen on board. I was trying to feed some ducks bread (still vegetarian-17 years now denying the human condition!), fish was being aggressive with baby ducks. Now that fish is my wallet. Skin came from in front of the dorsal(?), between the fin on the back and the head. They said that if I didn't want to eat it that was all I could do with it, kept a bit and the rest went to rats.
That fish wallet is really neat. You are right... it's sort of like a chain mail. I've not seen many fish skin pieces in person, but they are becoming quite popular. I think Dior under Galliano did a series of bags in it a few years back. I like the smallness of the scales... less in your face than ostrich leg, snake, etc., but also very different from lizard. Thanks for posting!

More hides (from things I've had):

Horsehair (Valentino wallet):
DSC02750-1.jpg

Cinghiale (wild boar... the red trim, rest of the bag is canvas))
It's like pigskin, except with a slightly different grain and a more pronounced follicle...almost like a graining pattern)
DSC02830.jpg
DSC02806.jpg
Comparison with "regular" pigskin... notice different texture/grain:
DSC01971.jpg

Kangaroo (LV Soana):
LVSoanaCabas.jpg
LVSoanaSacocheSS07.jpg

Crocodile (vintage Asprey):
DSC02876.jpg

Buffalo:
DSC02097.jpg

Moose/Elk ("Alce"): very similar to deerskin, though slightly thicker/less "soft" (Jil sander)
JSAlce.jpg
post #10 of 45
.
Edited by Louis XIV - 10/13/11 at 5:12am
post #11 of 45
I am looking at an amazing vintage harbor seal hide shawl to cover a small ottoman for my mother at an antique store down the street. It's huge but $450, so... don't know if it is that big of a deal. I haven't handled such thick fur before in my life, quite dear though even in such a perfect condition. Again, if anyone is really that interested, I can go take pictures for the curious but it is a fur not a leather hide. I think I'll post some northern plains buffalo in a bit.
post #12 of 45
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Louis XIV View Post

Regarding the leathers of both hippo and elephant I am curious if the skin of the third big african animal, rhino, is made to leather as well?

It is, I believe, though I've never owned anything in it. IIRC, it looks a lot like hippo and elephant... a gnarled, thick hide with pronounced graining.
post #13 of 45
Thread Starter 
Stingray wallet, from an exotic-hide bag and wallet company in Japan called MUTA. I'm really liking this brand; they do nice work and the prices are reasonable (this wallet is around 50,000 yen/$500-600, and bags and such are around 150,000/ $1500-1600) given the leathers used.

jgWvL.jpg

0iUzJ.jpg
post #14 of 45
.
Edited by Louis XIV - 10/13/11 at 5:13am
post #15 of 45
Thread Starter 
AFAIK, they are all farmed, or grown for purposes of harvesting. For elephants and such, my guess is that there are harvesting restrictions in place, though I don't know what they are. It's not really "poaching," though, r just people out shooting happy elephants on the savannah... as all of these bags are made by very reputable, large brands and not sold out of the back of a station wagon after dark. (haha)
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Styleforum › Forums › Men's Style › Classic Menswear › Definitive Exotic Hide Identification Thread: Post your Hippo, Turtle, Gator, Phoque (you!), etc. here