. . . or how to wear furs this winter without hurting your pet’s feelings.
There is nothing, absolute nothing quite like wrapping yourself in fur. As a sensuous experience, it is in the same class as a new love, old champagne or fresh truffles. But even the most hedonistic of women are relieved that the threatened species are no longer imported. Snow leopards, tigers and other cats can go their own way and sensibly sybaritic female will look for furs that are farmed, such as fox and mink. This winter, too, the fakes are so wayout and wildly coloured that only a girl without a heart could resist their charms, albeit synthetic. Perhaps that’s why the fur trade have taken the hint and dipped their favourite fox pelts in the dye pot, Furrier Maxwell Croft offers his explanation of the female urge to wear and the male urge to bestow furs: “For many men it is a primitive desire to see his woman in furs.”. Very nice,too.
Plenty to scoff at the end of the copy there, but oh goodness the clothes – the clothes! And the glorious photography of Alice Springs, whose work doesn’t turn up nearly enough for my liking.
Leather and fur get more expensive every year. It’s not only the taxes and rising costs of production. It’s just that there aren’t enough good animal skins for leather around to meet the consumer demand. Furs are there in quantity for the fabulously rich. Luckily a good substitute has been found – the nylon-spun, man-made sort. Some, especially in the leather field, are so like the real thing the only way you can tell the difference is by the smell. Take the white coat on pages 46 and 47. It’s fake and costs about £50. It has a double in real fur and leather for £270. Made by the same people who have duplicated most of their collection this way and it takes an eagle eye and nose to tell the difference. Others are just furry, woolly fabrics, obviously not imitating some four-legged friend, which is one of the nicest things about them. This fur fabric is now getting the treatment it deserves. Nairn Williamson (more famous for their Vinyl floor and wall coverings) were the first to see its potential and got six designers to use their Velmar fur fabric in their winter collections. Jane Whiteside for Stirling Cooper (new label getting famous fast for their beautiful jersey co-ordinates) was the cleverest of them all. She used the best sludgy colours, mixed it with needlecord to make a group of jackets and coats to go with trousers, skirts and blouses. Borg (American originated and the pioneers in England of this deep pile fabric) has been around for a long time, mostly on the inside of duffle and raincoats but it’s on the outside as a normal fabric that it looks its best. Next winter there will be a lot more of it around, now that designers are getting less snobby about plastics. Not only is it as warm as fur, it is, of course, much cheaper and you don’t smell like a wet dog when you come in from the rain, either. So you can wear it herding sheep on lost weekends, or in town queuing for the cinema without any guilt feelings about ruining your assets.
Insert obligatory ‘I don’t agree with the thrust of the argument for fake furs as just a financial consideration here’ caveat from me, your content provider. Don’t shout at me, basically. But it’s an interesting insight into the mindset of 1970, and the proliferation of fake furs and skins at that time. It’s also a breathtakingly styled and photographed work of art from Caroline Baker and Jonvelle.