Photographer Arnaud Pvyka Explores the Rarefied Hides Favored by Luxury Fashion Houses
Brightly colored alligator and crocodile hides supplied by Singapore’s renowned tannery Heng Long International conceal the bare flesh of model Lidi Kochetkova in Arnaud Pvyka’s provocative shoot.
A well-kept secret among chic tastemakers, the family-run Heng Long treats the production and preparation of animal skins as an artisanal craft, supplying perfectly treated hides to the likes of Hermès, Louis Vuitton and Prada. “It’s a dying skill as there are fewer and fewer artisans who are able to do it without using lacquer,” observes CT Koh, who runs the 175-strong tannery. Founded after the Second World War by CT’s grandfather—who learned the art while sailing between continents as a trader—Heng Long use a special Bombé finish on their skins, as well as transparent Analine dyes which don’t obscure the grain and natural detail. In between studies at Central Saint Martins and the London College of Fashion, CT’s youngest son Ethan recently branched out with his own bespoke accessories line Ethan K, making bags and clutches from the family’s sought-after skins.