One afternoon, my friend Kara and I decided to take a trip down Kings Road. I was hungover, but I had a Starbucks panni and it hit the spot. We went for the charity shops at the end of the road- rich peoples casts offs just happen to be much nicer than most things we own- and after a a browse we went to Harrods. It was on this journey when Kara whispered the controversial question to me…
‘What do you think about fur?’
I was momentarily stumped, because if the truth be told, I’m not sure what I think about fur. My mind is not made up on the subject. Part of me is totally disgusted by fur in fashion; I love love animals to such an extent that I wanted to be a vet until I realized I couldn’t do science. I am so squeamish that I became a vegetarian after seeing Gordon Ramsey kill a veal, and I am a girl who can comfortably sit through child poverty adverts, but if a Jack Russell comes on TV talking about how he was abused I weep like a child! So it stands to reason that when I see the hairy protesters outside department stores waving pictures of skinned bloodied animals, I am always repulsed and very affected. The idea of breeding animals to cruelly cull for vanity can surely never be endorsed?
But, and this awful but always enters my mind, there is nothing quite as glamorous as a fur coat. Fake fur is never the same, it sits differently, looks different and feels different. The idea of being all heeled and lipsticked with fur draped over me is very attractive. I am well aware that this perception is probably due to images of stars from the 20s and 40s who wore fur; no one can argue that they achieved a level of glamorous and sophistication that we can only dream of, but is there a place for fur in modern society?
I think that my main issue is with designers who put fur in collections that have a high distribution numbers. Having a fur coat in a ready to wear show has different connotations to having a fur coat in a couture show where it is very much a one off piece, though I suppose morally there is very little difference.
And this is where my argument becomes tied in knots and folds in upon itself. It doesn’t matter how you wear fur, you can buy vintage safe in the knowledge that this coat was sitting there, the animal dead before you came into existence, but morally is it any better than buying a coat from a new collection?
Luckily I don’t have to worry too much as fur coats do not enter my budget and are unlikely to do so for quite some time; when I have the £36,000 for a Dior white fur coat I will ponder the issue in more depth. Plus, it seems that marching outside Harrods with a placard is really quite a fruitless activity, style.com have just named fur vests as the season must-have, proving that there are some things in which fashion will always remain stone age.
(Fur @ Etro, MaxMara and Marni this Fall)