I recently posted an Instagram of a Saffiano leather weekender bag by hook + ALBERT, which begged the question for many, what exactly IS Saffiano leather?
Saffiano leather was first made in one of Italy’s most famous tanneries and was a signature and patent of Prada. Originally made from the highest quality calf leather, the name "Saffiano" comes from the cross-hatch print (a series of diagonal lines) pressed or stamped into wax that coats the leather. This treatment and distinctive markings render the leather resistant to stains and scratches, making it water repellent and easy to clean. Many high-end fashion houses use Saffiano leather for its many positive attributes.
Today the print is used on a wide range of leathers and PU coated splits. PU leather is leather created from the fibrous part of the hide left once the top-grain of the rawhide has been separated from the hide. An artificial layer applied to the surface of the split and is embossed with a leather grain. So although what we see is the same Saffiano print across all the current designer brands, what is actually underneath the surface could be no better than your cheap split leather with a surface coating simply printed with the cross hatch design “Saffiano Leather.” Therefore, make sure you know what you're paying for!