Fur on the Catwalk: Prada AW 2011

The Prada Autumn Winter 2011 collection is all about texture: juxtaposing soft, luxurious fur collars with stiff, shiny, plastic-looking skirts. This fall collection is pleasantly colourful, and a step in the opposite direction of the camels and greys we’ve become so accustomed to for Fall. The fur, of course, was no exception. Brightly coloured collars add an interesting quality to these incredibly detailed pieces.

Details on a Fur Collar
Amazing Colours!
Beautful Fur Texture

We’ve all been lusting after those beautiful Prada fox stoles, and this latest collection is definitely covet-worthy!

Photos from Style.com

Brand Feature: Adolfo Fernandez

Adolfo Fernandez, fur designer, chinchilla, Chile

Adolfo Fernandez is a Chilean fashion designer who fell in love with fur after a course at the Saga Furs Design Center in Copenhagen. There, he learnt about mink, fox and finnraccon, but upon his return to Chile, he chose to work exclusively with chinchilla. Chinchilla is native to Chile, and he has been able to forge relationships with people in the industry, to ensure the best breeds and excellent dressing. Another example of how fur can be green, when a designer works with raw materials that they source from their own country.

Adolfo Fernandez, fur designer, chinchilla, Chile

At the moment, his products are only available by private order (contact him through his Flickr page or by email, contacto@adolfofernandez.cl) but we are very much looking forward to seeing this new fur talent grow and expand his business.

Adolfo Fernandez, fur designer, chinchilla, ChileAdolfo Fernandez, fur designer, chinchilla, ChileAdolfo Fernandez, fur designer, chinchilla, Chile

Photos by Simon Pais-Thomas.

How Green is Fur? Synthetics Are Not a Green Alternative

There are a lot of misconceptions about the fur industry, and it’s no secret that we love fur here at A Touch of Luxe. This is the first of many posts that will shed some light on why fur is green.

A pile of Fox pelts, sorted and ready to be made into a coat or other garment.

To start us off,  one of the first fur myths that come to mind is the claim that synthetic fur is a much more sustainable choice. The answer to this depends on what you define as “sustainable”.  Now, we all know where fur comes from and how we obtain it. Some people may not consider killing 30-50 million animals a year (a loose approximation of how many animals are used by the fur industry) sustainable. For one mink coat, about 30-60 mink pelts are used. That sounds like alot, but when you take into account that a mink takes one year to reach age of maturity, and a female mink produces a litter of 4-6 pups, that’s a quickly renewed resource. Can you think of very many other resources that renew in a year? Certainly not petroleum, or even wood.

Image Courtesy of eoearth.org

The petroleum used to make synthetic fur is a non-renewable resource: once we use it all up, that’s it for the next 40 million years. The petroleum doesn’t come out of the ground ready to be spun into faux fur, either. It must undergo many chemical treatments and use large amounts of energy to convert this oil byproduct into a wearable fibre.

A close up of faux fur. Image Courtesy of sharonsews.blogspot.com

Fur, on the other hand, does not require much treatment. Native Americans and Inuit people have been “processing” fur and leather long before the invention of faux fur. Surprisingly, fur treatment, aside from special colour treatment, hasn’t changed much. And fur is going to be around forever, as long as we take care of the environment that these animals can thrive in, and that the animals aren’t over hunted. Organizations like the International Fur Trade Federation, and the Government of Canada, have strict regulations in place to ensure this doesn’t happen.

Michael Kors, classic, relevant fur coats. Image from runwaypicks.com

Another way to interpret sustainability is the longevity of a fur coat vs. a faux fur or other synthetic coat. Fur coats, due to the cost, are usually cut in classic styles that are relevant for years and years. Faux fur, however, can be found in “styles” like this:

Image from etsy.com

No one is going to wear a coat like that for more than a season. And even with a flattering, classic cut, over a few short seasons the faux fur is going to mat and become unwearable (sadly, my knock-off Kate Hudson a la “Almost Famous” coat is a testament to this). However, fur coats have consistently proven to be long lasting, heirloom pieces that get passed down from family member to family member.

Even vegetarians have a hard time turning down a vintage mink coat. Image from the TV series "Friends".

Fur can be worn for generations, and even if the coat becomes un-stylish, it can be taken apart by a skilled furrier and reworked into a new design completely. A fur coat can even be made into a smaller fur piece if portions of the coat are no longer usable.

Let us know what you think about this new addition, and if you have any questions about fur, or maybe your own myths you’ll like to see dispelled, let us know in the comments!

Some great resources to learn even more about the sustainability of fur:

Slate.com Article on the sustainability of fur vs. faux.
A PDF from the government of Tennessee outlining how to treat fur.

Fur on the Catwalk: Burberry Prorsum Autumn Winter 2011

Christopher Bailey has put together a wonderfully classic collection for Burberry Prorsum once again. Highlights included warm brown fur coats paired with a slim trouser, and sleek, black mink accents on sleeves and shoulders. The entire collection is a sensory experience, with several textures in one garment. It’s unfortunate technology hasn’t come far enough to let us experience the feel of a garment while watching the show streaming live on our iPads.

Catwalk Images from Style.com

Fur Lovers Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen Stand Up for Their Right to Wear Fur

Olsen Twins in Gorgeous Fur

Depending on what celebrity rag you’re currently reading and what day of the week it is, Mary Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen are either being praised for their unique personal style, or condemned for wearing strange combinations and unflattering proportions. However, there is no denying that the pair can rock a gorgeous fur.

The twins have been a huge target of PETA for several years, facing angry mobs at book signings, on the street, and many online smear campaigns. None of this dreadful behaviour on PETA’s part, however, has discouraged the Olsen’s decisions to wear fur. They stick to what they believe and instead of retaliating in any way, simply refuse to acknowledge these ignorant threats. Not many celebrities can do this: there are several instances of celebrities being publicly attacked for wearing fur, and they immediately stop (for some great articles on such celebrities, check out our “fur hypocrite” posts). Mary Kate and Ashley have showed no signs of giving in to the pressure: Mary Kate was even featured on the cover of Marie Claire’s September issue, and the photos inside feature her in lovely fur garments.

Mary Kate in Marie Claire

Mary Kate and Ashley also include a healthy amount of fur in their collaborative luxury brand, The Row. The collection is primarily designed by the twins, with the help of specialist furriers, handbag designers, and leather makers. The brand is designed in New York and made primarily in the USA, with an importance put on ethically and locally sourcing all materials possible. The pair have managed to put out some beautiful, classic collections in the past 4 years, bringing the Row (named after Savile Row in London) to a higher standard of celebrity-turned-designer wear. This season’s collection includes beautiful fur coats and hats paired with simple, elegant tailoring that is reflective of the twins personal style, on their better days.

The Row Pre-Fall 2011

More looks from the Row to come!

To read more about The Row, check out this great article on Vogue.com
Photos of the Olsen twins courtesy of The Daily Mail.
Marie Claire Editorial from Lela London.
The Row photos from Vogue.com

Fur Tips: Repairing Tears

Repairing fur is best done by a professional furrier, but this can be costly when if you have an inexpensive vintage piece that isn’t worth spending money on. If the leather of an inexpensive fur coat begins to crack or tear, then there is a way of repairing it temporarily, and on the cheap. Get a piece of leather and patch the tear (on the leather side of the fur, of course) by gluing the piece of leather over the tear or crack. Use a leather glue or a latex-based rubber cement, like Copydex, this will keep the leather soft and supple, and will help prevent it from tearing any further.

This tip came from Izzet Irs, creative director at Hockey London (one of Britain’s most famous furriers.)

Fur Hypocrite: Janice Dickinson

Janice Dickinson, fur hypocrite, PETA

When interviewed for UK magazine Grazia, ex-supermodel Janice Dickinson, talked about the fact that she attends anti-fur rallys. But she later admits to owning and wearing fur:

“I do have to disclose at this point – I’ve had some dead, DEAD! fur in my closet coz I got it from Fendi when I modeled for them, years and years and years ago, and I don’t want to throw it out! I have worn it when I’ve been filming in Russia – but I don’t really wear it unless it’s super cold. So there. You can’t out me for wearing fur sometimes ‘coz I’ve just outed myself!” (Grazia)

So what is the message here Janice? Is it ok to wear fur if it is from Fendi? Or if it is free? Or if it is super cold? But the rest of the time it isn’t? How about admitting it is ok to wear fur AND attend anti-fur rallys, if you are a total hypocrite.

Images from Grazia.

Congratulations to the winner of our vintage mink fur jacket giveaway, Vanessa in Germany will be receiving the coat in the next few days!

Fur Quote: Get Ready for Things to Heat up

Fendi, Gucci, fur, catwalk, fur on the catwalk, designer furs, total luxe, Financial Times

Left, Fendi Autumn Winter 2011 and right, Gucci, Autumn Winter 2011.

“(The catwalk designers) did their due diligence, they are satisfied with their (fur) suppliers, the ethical questions were asked and answered. Get ready for things to heat up, in every sense of the word.”

– Vanessa Friedman (from her article about the large amount of furs on the Milan Autumn Winter 2011 catwalks.)

Images from Style.com.