L EGANTI F U
BY BARBARA PASH
remain the favorite,
but there are plenty of
other looks as well.
raditionalists who like their
minks long and flowing will
find several styles from which
to choose this season. But
designers have also come up
with an array of styles for
those who like a more
casual, sporty look.
Indeed, a major trend in the industry
continues to be the influence of fashion
designers on fur styles. A name
designer's "collection" gives instantly
recognizable cachet to the fur company
for which it was created. Perhaps
because they are responsible for only a
small group of furs in the company's
overall line, fashion designers tend to be
more experimental and adventurous —
if not downright flamboyant — than the
This fall, for example, Donna Karan
showed a mink parka with drawstring
waist, designed for Birger Christensen.
Also designed for Birger Christensen
was a mink duffle coat by Marc Jacobs
of Perry Ellis. Besides the traditional
coats and jackets he designed for Mohl
Furs, Arnold Scaasi showed a blue
mink cape. American designers are not
the only names to be found on collec-
tions. French designer, Karl Lagerfeld,
creates for Revillon Furs; another
French designer, Claude Montana, for
Birger Christensen Furs.
Sandy Blye, executive vice president
of the American Fur Industry, Inc., a
New York-based trade association,
Above: Canadian fisher is done
in a casual, trench coat style.
Right: Natural black opal
seven-eighth length mink coat
designed by Maud Frizon.
points to two other fashion-influenced
trends. One involves the fur itself.
"Fur plus ready-to-wear fabrics like
leather, tweed, paisley prints — in the
industry, we call it 'mixed media' —
were shown in many collections. Most
of the coats and jackets were reversible,
so you get two totally different looks
from the same item," she says.
In the same vein is the abundance of
fur that has been made to resemble
fabric through such techniques as
shearing, stenciling and dyeing. In
shearing, the guard hairs are removed,
revealing the soft underfur. Sheared fur
has a fabric-like suppleness that allows
designers to "drape" the fur; it also ac-
cepts dyes well. Claude Montana's col-
lection consisted entirely of sheared and
dyed furs, mostly mink. Marc Jacobs
sheared fox, in styles that included a
pearly gray blazer and an olive green
The second trend involves styles.
"The swing coat, introduced last year,
is very strong this year. It's seven-
eighths length — about knee length to
one inch above the knee — and it falls
straight from the shoulders, with a full,
flaring back," Blye says. "Designers like
it because the style works well in both
long- and short-haired furs. It's a luxe
look, shows off the fur beautifully, and
is a versatile length."
Besides the swing coat, the other
major new style is the fitted look.
Princess-style coats were shown in all