Friday, November 13, 2009

Think Mink, Or Don't?

True confession: I've got four furs in my closet.

A full length mink, bought off a friend (who was downsizing her mink collection).

An old-school charity shop astrakhan (also known as curly lamb or karakul).

A princess-line glossy fur, sheared, possibly beaver or (gulp) seal, which I found amid a heap of garments on a wrought iron fence: "give me a tenner, love." (That's about $17).

And my favorite, this blond mink capelet owned by one Madame M. R., which I reckon was made in the early 60s, though I highly doubt manufacturer Rossellí actually had branches in Paris and Milan (just as Victoria's Secret has never had a single outlet in London.)

Anyway, I love all these furs, but only ever wear the second and third one, at best once or twice a year.


1) It never gets bone-chilling dry-cold in London like it does in Chicago or Moscow, so fur's undeniable insulation isn't as necessary here.
2) Anti-cruelty advocates are active and vocal in this town. Since I ride public transport rather than a blackout window sedan, I'd be a walking billboard for the anti-anti cruelty brigade.
3) I much prefer to flaunt under the radar than in somebody's face.

Last weekend's Sunday Times Style magazine had a trend piece claiming that vintage fur was in some way more acceptable, less vulgar, than new.

True, it is reclaiming a garment that might otherwise go into a landfill, but less vulgar? Not so sure. And of course there is the ongoing debate of whether real fur or synthetic is more environmentally friendly--though authentic vintage fur seems to come up tops in the argument.

I wonder how many others are out there in a similar circumstance: buying vintage fur because it's affordable, and gorgeous, then making a relic of it rather than have it--or ourselves, by association--misinterpreted.

I'd love to hear your thoughts.


  1. I think that vintage furs are wonderful...and I own them although it rarely gets cold enough to wear one in Los Angeles.
    I also have no problem with new furs...after all, the animals are farmed and I wear leather shoes, carry a leather bag, and eat meat. I just wish that I could afford a sheared mink coat.

  2. I justify vintage fur because the animals theat it came from would have met their natural death by now anyways. Does that make sense?

  3. Thanks, Belle and Milarca. Was at a lunch today where one of the participants thought it was incredibly strange to eat (at a different lunch) in a room filled with dead animal's (mounted) heads. This wouldn't bother me at all. And I'll wear leather forever. Silk, no prob. Feathers, sure.

    But fur leaves me conflicted. And I have to say I envy both of you, because it is so very lovely to have on.

  4. The thought of buying a new fur coat disturbs me - however, buying vintage for me, is honoring both the animal and the era of design the coat was born in. I'd rather honor the animal than see a decent fur landfilled.
    I currently own three Mouton and one Raccoon. All vintage. I LOVE them. The Mouton's (sheepskin)are swing coats (timeless)from the late 50's and the Raccoon is a stroller coat from the 80's.
    I grew up on a working sheep farm, so maybe that makes it easier for me?