The fur trend is at full throttle and shows no signs of a slow down. In early December in Paris there was a round table discussion entitled “Furs for the Future,” at the International Herald Tribune‘s Fashion 2003: Luxury in a Cool Climate conference. Led by fashion editor Suzy Menkes, Rick Owens, the artistic director of Revillon, Robert Burke, the vice president and senior fashion director of Bergdorf Goodman, and Ulrik Kirchheiner, president and chief executive officer of Saga Furs of Scandinavia, convened to discuss trends in the industry. The consensus was that this is the era of “the lightening up of fur” in both the literal and figurative sense of the word, that we would see both a recycling and a playful aspect in the use of fur going forward. Rick Owens pointed out that “fur is fashion history,” and now he perceives fur as a personal luxury rather than a display of luxury. Citing breakthrough innovations in techniques, both Owens and Kirchheiner mentioned the new lightness that has been achieved through fur knitting — a process by which knittable yarn is created from fur and turned into garments or trim. Discretion and understated usage — also known as stealth wealth — are key features of the movement, so look for fur trim on capes, gloves, hats, and in unexpected places. Menkes referred to fur as “the new pashmina” so you’ll soon be seeing it in every color. Look for more coats with fur lining, including what Owens calls “the selfish lumberjack” coat. Finally, the industry will see the inevitable trading up — today’s new fur client will buy fur accessories, but, much as in shoes purchasing, s/he will look to trade up, and over time, will make more and more expensive purchases, including the occasional splurge. Overall, the trend is “fur that whispers, that doesn’t shout,” which appeals to today’s new, younger client, introducing them to fur for a lifetime.
- Colette Ballou
Photo: Light furs at Fendi fall 2003