Okay, so here are some comparison pics as this set has evidently changed a good deal over the years.
First comes the vest - . I have three versions of this - the early PM version, what I believe to be an early Mattel version, and a late Mattel version from 2008. The early PM and early Mattel versions seem to be real leather, or at least real leather with some kind of overlay, and are actually thinner than the pleather version. The color of these is extremely different, a dark reddish-brown compared to the tan of the pleather edition. Neither is tooled very deeply, but the PM one is deeper than the early Mattel one (this is really the only difference between the two and it may not be so much a PM/Mattel issue as just a batch issue).
Then we have the late Mattel version. The one I received in 2008 is imitation leather, and boy does it show, rubbery and generic light brown. Interestingly, though the pleather version is stamped more deeply than either leather vest. I really love the leather ones in either version but the pleather one is junk.
The fabric has also changed between PM and late Mattel. The thickness is the same, but the original material is a bit more of a burnt orange than my Mattel version, and the flowers and stripes are slightly different. Not sure when this changed, but it's not too big of a deal.
PM on left, late Mattel on right (and the Mattel is not so warm in color, I don't know why it was taking like that)