Jonas Gustavsson and Peter Stigter / For The Times
In a season largely defined by restraint, it was odd to see so much fur on the runways — even though companies such as Denmark-based Saga Furs give pelts to designers for free, as long as they agree to use them in their runway designs.
These furs were not the jewel-encrusted astrakhans and broadtails that we have seen in seasons past. They were furs with a sportier edge, and some of them weren't even real.
At times, the use of fur seemed to be a defiant stand against restraint, as was the case at Rick Owens. He, more than any other designer, has changed the look of fur. And this season, he used it liberally, in draped kangaroo fur coats with the ease of sweaters and in full-length minks with helmet-like hoods.
In other cases, designers seemed to be using fur in such an over-the-top way that it had to be a joke about the industry's dependence on fur as an easy shorthand for luxury and glamour. At Martin Margiela, for example, the Russian-style fur cap was rendered so enormous, with flaps hanging down over the arms, that it looked as if it might swallow the model whole.
But the biggest news in fur on the runways was that it wasn't all real, and the fake stuff is what looked the most fresh and new.
For those anti-fur advocates out there, Nina Ricci featured faux fur trim on a slouchy moleskin coat and soft knit cardigans. It was an even bigger surprise to see fake fur at luxury powerhouse Chanel, where the runway was a winter wonderland with real icebergs imported from Sweden.
We're not talking a little fake fur trim here and there. There was fake fur everywhere, from the moment the curtain went up on four models, covered head to toe in the shaggy stuff, looking like friendly beasts moored on a melting iceberg. There was fake fur trim on boucle suits and fake fur waders, bloomers, mukluk boots and puffball purses.
The "fantasy fur," as designer Karl Lagerfeld described it, fit into the show's global warming theme. (Invitations came with a sketch of a polar bear drawn by Lagerfeld himself.)
Now that Chanel is behind the animal rights cause (at least this season), it will be interesting to see if the rest of the industry follows.
Photo: Chanel's fall 2010 runway in Paris.
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