‘People are more violently opposed to fur than leather because it’s safer to harass rich women than motorcycle gangs’ Alexei Sayle
It isn’t ‘me’. I never considered wearing fur until, on a bleak Saturday, a rack of cosy vintage furs at the North Sydney market stopped me in my tracks. I tried on a mink jacket. It’s bespoke fit prompted me to have a long hard think. In addition to issues of cruelty, I’m a touch phobic about furry animals. Could I make a seismic shift to wearing fur?
One of the magnificently tailored jackets bore the Cornelius label. I remember meeting the legendary late Stella Cornelius. She and her husband opened the Cornelius Furs shop in Sydney 1943. They sold in 1977, and it finally shut down in 2000 such was the force of anti-fur campaigns. Ironically, after her link with controversy, Stella established the Conflict Resolution Network and received national and international accolades. The Cornelius Furs archive at the Powerhouse Museum is testament to the era of fur retailing and politics.
If you’re a fur fan – or even if you’re not – you’ll adore the gloriously glam pics at Fashion’sMostWanted Fabulous in Fur. ArmstrongsVintage suggest many ways to wear vintage fur: how about teamed with a slinky dress and a pearls for a Deco Hollywood starlet look or decadent 40’s femme fatale style with tweed suit and leather brogues? You can add a vintage fur to a 50’s Rockabilly outfit, a bohemian 70’s maxi gown or contemporary skinny jeans.
Fur fashion history is fascinating. Long used for practical everyday warmth in the coldest countries, in more recent decades it became a coveted wardrobe item before becoming decidedly politically incorrect. It was originally fashionable to wear fur as a lining until the invention of cars led to it being worn on the outside of coats: riding in open cars was a cold activity so upper class folks took Sunday drives wrapped in heavy luxurious fur coats.
But the lurking fur issue remains. Diana Ross put it so well ‘I don’t know what I feel about wearing my furs anymore. I worked so hard to have a fur coat, and I don’t want to wear it anymore because I’m so wrapped up in the animals. I have real deep thoughts about it because I care about the world and I care about nature’.
Yep, I couldn’t resist buying this soft, feather light, ridiculously cheap and oh, so warm mink jacket. That same night, after 5 minutes of self consciousness, I forgot I was wearing my fur in public – without a flurry of dirty looks.
Super model, Christy Turlington famously declared ‘I’d rather go naked than wear fur’.
I could even wear my fur to the beach on a cold day but I remain unsure
– are vintage furs better worn than to going into landfill?
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