AR-News: Boston Globe: FURS ARE FLYING
KarenDawn at DawnWatch.com
Mon Aug 25 12:17:18 EDT 2003
(The Boston Globe takes letters at: letter at globe.com )
The Boston Globe
August 24, 2003, Sunday ,THIRD EDITION
MAGAZINE; Pg. 28
A CLASSIC / OUTERWEAR Tina Cassidy is a member of the Globe staff.;
FURS ARE FLYING TODAY'S FUR COAT HAS ALL THE LUXURY OF YESTERDAY'S BUT IT'S
OUT AND ABOUT FOR EVERYDAY WARMTH AND CASUAL STYLE.
BY TINA CASSIDY
ABOUT SIX MONTHS AGO in Milan, on one of those cusp-of-spring days when the
sun is warm and the air still brisk before noon, fashion editors made their
way into a morning runway show wrapped in mink, sheared beaver, and vintage
bunny. They didn't really need these warm coats except to look cool. But so
much fur was being worn that, within minutes, the stark white industrial
space began to look like a rabbit warren.
My eyes zeroed in on one young Vogue assistant I had been tracking
throughout fashion weeks in New York and Milan. We had sat cheek by jowl at
the Gucci show, where her white fur jacket kept brushing up against me. The
next day, she wore what looked like an old-fashioned sable swing coat, and
then, at Marni, she was in a brown-mink car coat. All looked like older
coats, perhaps culled from downtown resale shops or her grandmother's
closet. And all were worn with the same casualness and sense of irony as
when French women carry their Hermes Birkin bags unbuckled with a baguette
poking out. The Vogue assistant wore her furs paired with jeans or slung
over one shoulder or dragging at her heels.
Forget about how many pairs of shoes she must have schlepped overseas. Did
she need a whole steamer trunk for her furs?
Never before had I seen such a parade of pelts. Granted, Milanese women,
conservative and classic in their dressing, have always worn fur. But this
was the fashion circus come to town, and the visitors were in on the act,
too, bringing up-to-the-nano sec ond New York street wear to the fashion
Not surprisingly, fur was all over the runways, too, from Prada (retro) to
Guc ci (sexy) to Fendi (outrageous). In fact, so many designers featured fur
in their fall collections that it was beginning to feel like the 1980s
instead of the recession-weary, geopolitically depressing time that it is.
Apparently that's the point.
Beauty is the new armor for uncertain times, according to Tom Ford,designer
for Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci. The pronouncement followed a show for the
latter that featured a sharp leather bolero jacket with bushy fur sleeves.
At Prada, there were knee-length fur coats - even a mink neck accessory that
looked like a furry Hawaiian lei - with cropped arms and thin leather belts
to cinch the waist. The shortened sleeves gave new prominence to long
gloves. In alligator, of course. The whole look had a Jackie Kennedy effect.
Back in Boston, I saw plenty of women scurrying around in fur coats.
Emboldened by the frigid temperatures and the fact that animal-rights
advocates had turned their attention to people who wear leather and eat
meat, the women probably had pulled their pelts out of storage or made a
trip to the furrier's.
So I paid a visit to a few vintage stores. Wool coats were selling, but
there were racks and racks of mink stoles, too (great with jeans and a
T-shirt, the clerk would say); plenty of Persian lamb (so Prada); and lots
of rabbit (disco revisited). Fur, vintage-shop owners said, was flying off
Is there change in the air?
According to the Fur Information Council, fur sales in the United States in
the late 1980s - when big hair and big spending were at their height -
peaked at around $1.8 billion. That figure dropped to $1 billion by the
economically ravaged year of 1991. But by 2000, the figure had clawed its
way back up to $1.69 billion.
Will that figure surge this winter? As much as fashion changes like the
weather, in this case, mild temperatures can change the fashion. Unless, of
course, you're wearing fur to be cool, not to stay warm.
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