Trinity’s ‘Matrix’ Style: How to Wear Slick Leather Pieces

A leather look inspired by The Matrix's Trinity.

Taking inspiration from the blockbuster’s sleek, sharp, and edgy wardrobe, this outfit puts leather front and center. Here’s a look at the enduring influence of The Matrix on fashion – and how I put this Trinity-approved look together.

There are so many memorable things about the science fiction blockbuster – and fashion is most definitely one of them. No one can separate Trinity from her iconic superhero outfit: an ankle-grazing leather coat worn on top of a body-encasing black vinyl top and pants. Completely impractical – imagine all that squeaking! – but endlessly badass. Since the film’s release in 1999, Trinity’s, erm, neo-goth style has been influencing fashion on and off the runway. First to walk the path was John Galliano, who dreamt up a highly futuristic, telegenic collection for Dior in 1999. It was so heavily inspired by the film that fashion critics still refer to it as “The Matrix Collection.”

Throughout the early 2000s, so many other designers gobbled up the red pill. In 2003, Balenciaga, helmed by Nicolas Ghesquiere, showed us skintight pants, slick nylon, and fiercely sexy silhouettes – the uniform of a Matrix secret agent (as Vogue called it). In that same time period, more designers took cues from the film, including Hedi Slimane for Dior and Dolce & Gabbana. And let’s not forget Yohji Yamamoto’s 2008 show, which featured sweeping leather coats, structured jackets, and heavy black boots. But it didn’t stop there.

Over the last couple of years, Saint Laurent, Ann Demeulemeester, Mugler, and Tom Ford once again borrowed from the Matrix code, showcasing sleek looks made for slow-mo bullet dodging. Trinity’s return to the screen in 2021’s The Matrix Resurrections might have had something to do with it, but of course, there’s another factor at play here: our reawakened affection for the past. For many, the blockbuster came out during a nostalgic time — and nostalgia has been the driving force behind some of the most ubiquitous trends of the moment. We’ve resurrected low waistlines, so it’s no surprise that we’ve dusted off some our favorite old films, too. 

Just a couple of weeks ago, I found myself rewatching the movie, remembering what it was like when I first saw it. Spoiler alert: I remembered next to nothing of the actual plotline. What did, however, come rushing back was that feeling – a sentimentality that hit right in the nostalgia cortex of my brain. Oh, and the outfits. I remembered the outfits with near eidetic recall. Yet another proof that clothes are an indispensable part of any character and an important storytelling device.

Central to the aforementioned Matrix fashion are leather and vinyl – sleek and sharp, bordering fetishwear. That’s the premise of my outfit today, which takes a few liberties with Trinity’s look (OK, a lot.) The main two building blocks of this outfit are the slitted skirt and the gloved bra top. I bought the skirt a few years ago during Matériel Tbilisi’s archival sale, and I still can’t believe I paid a little over $100 for it. It was a lucky buy, and one I’m still grateful for. I love it now as much as I did back then! Well-placed cutouts and tie details make it look as though it’s about to fall apart. This tailored-yet-deliberately-undone sensibility is what gives the piece its unique edge. 

And speaking of unique – how about this faux-leather top? Georgian designer Aleksandre Akhalkatsishvili is responsible for this hero piece of the puzzle, which showcases his flair for experimental minimalism. The built-in gloves lend the piece a dominatrix-y vibe, and the self-tie halter straps mirror the skirt’s cascading ties. Finishing off the look is my trusty pair of A.W.A.K.E. Mode boots which boast a split toe and – you guessed it – more slits! Overall, it’s a Matrix-meets-Julia-Fox look that’s a little impractical, a little anti-comfort, but a heckuva lot of fun.

Want to experiment with this Matrix-inspired look? Shop every item below. (Writer’s note: I bought the leather skirt during an archival sale, which means it is, unfortunately, all sold out. I did, however, provide a worthy alternative!)

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LA-based journalist and blogger sharing her deep-seated, honest love for fashion and travel. Check in every week for new stories of exploration and roundups!

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