Monday, November 16, 2009

Fox, not Faux

Is it the texture or the instant warmth?  Is it nostalgia over the white rabbit cape and matching muff of my youth?  Is it the instant luxe, or the top-of-the-world sensation I get when I’m wearing it? Whatever the reason, fur has been my latest fashion fascination. Real fur.
First, I have to say I’m not enamored of fur coats.  Before the age of ten, I used to play with two mouton coats. One was creamy white and the other was dyed very dark (apparently mouton is just a fancy way of treating a shearling so that it resembles beaver fur).  When we played house in the attic, donning one of the coats gave you an instance air of superiority (provided one was nine or younger, that is).  And they stunk. Really, really badly.  I don’t know if they weren’t properly cared for (a pretty good guess given that as a jam-handed child I had free access to them), or if treated lamb fur just stinks.   My parents bought them when they lived in Alaska in the late 50s and the coats were destroyed in a house fire in the 70s, so I’ll probably never know.
No matter where my disdain of fur coats came from, I still have it. Sure, they can be gorgeous; they're just not for me.  I find them too heavy, gaudy, reeking of status symbol importance, and I just don’t need that much warmth (although I would be happy to borrow one if only to reenact that great Amy Adams and the fur coat moment from Mrs. Pettigrew Lives for a Day).  When I think about wearing a full-length fur coat, all I can think of is how I can barely keep the removable plastic cup holders in my car free of moldy fuzz. How would I manage the special care and keeping requirements of a fur body-length garment? 
But – give me a silver fox collar, a vintage white rabbit hat, or a mink wrap and I’m happy. 
My appreciation of fur accessories started about 10 years ago on a trip to Quebec City.  I was curious about the stores that specialized in fur products.  I didn’t realize that furrier was still a viable profession. I fell in love with the hats and head bands (could be a Dr. Zhivago thing).  Then I inherited – and I use that term quite loosely, I can assure you – a rabbit cape and a wool coat with a thick faux fur collar from my grandmother’s collection. A few years ago, I bought a mink hat at a yard sale. It’s warm and silky soft.  But this fall, my romance with fur has turned into a passion over fox fur collars.

Tell me you don't want to touch Lara's hat.


[I will admit to sporting a teeny, tiny bit of saucy self-satisfaction along with the sassy fur accessories when I think that my choice of dress might offend some people. This is particularly so if those people are the same who would be the first to proclaim that we have no right to judge other’s actions or choices. This is why I use my smoking, drinking, dead-animal-with-head-still-attached-stole-wearing Mad Men icon when I infrequently comment on Change.org.]
My love of animal print and my fascination with fur overlap in a very specific way: pony hair (calf hair) painted or dyed to match the luscious graphic appeal of some other highly patterned animals. Every time I go to IKEA I nearly convince myself that our house would be a better place with that cowhide rug in it.  
In short: I love animals. They provide us with good work, companionship, food, and fabulous clothing and accessories.

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