Tuesday, January 26, 2010

On the Origins of a Species of Unnatural Fur

Quick Quiz:

What's the very first thing that springs to mind when hearing the term "Princeton's Mutations?"

a) a tiger mascot with an extra tail
b) a freshman class turned hideously crimson by an evil bioengineer in Cambridge
c) a football team that beats Yale more than once per decade

None of the above! The answer, of course, is d) a faux-fur coat

Yes indeed, back in the '50s somebody thought this would be an excellent name for a high-end faux garment. Which ranks right up there with Droopy & Browns formalwear in England and Sweden's Acne Jeans as one of the most questionable marketing decisions in fashion history.

Nonetheless, Life magazine's December 5, 1955 issue, which devoted its cover and an illustrated feature to man-made mink, and had this to say about Princeton's Mutations. . .

"After four years of beaverlike work in the laboratory, an eye-fooling duplicate of a Cerulean mink stole is now available for about a fiftieth of the price of the real thing . . . . Called Princeton's Mutations, after the firm that makes it, the cloth has just been introduced in gray, brown, and taupe . . . Hopeful guys who assume that this mock mink solves their fur-for-Christmas-problems should be warned that their dolls may say, "Take back your coal-water-and-natural-gas mink!"

Etsy seller renouveauclothing has this one on offer and I think it looks great. And the label's on the inside, right?


  1. How can I get an appraisal for a Princeton's Mutation fur coat (from 1955)? Or information concerning the coat?

  2. I have a full length, dark brown Princeton's Mutation faux-mink coat (1955) that is in very good shape. I would like to know what it is worth. Who can I call or write to? Is Princeton's Mutation still in business?

  3. Hi Barbara! Sorry for the late reply. I don't think the company is still in business. Your best bet on getting a valuation is to check out the auction history for this label on eBay and Etsy. I'm afraid the value won't be terribly high, even though this is a superior make of faux fur . . . good luck with your search, best, c