Before I start, it must be highlighted that in no way do we promote the use of authentic fur within fashion trends. The purposes of these style and trend features are to make you aware of the current trends that are out there and provide impartial advice. Many of the items which are featured and discussed in this article are actually fake (faux) fur, and for the purposes of this article, they are simply referred to as ´fur´ for reference. Thanks to the emergence of Autumnal styles and colours, fabrics such as shearling is making a strong come back, but it’s not surprisingly the only animal influenced trend that made its appearance on runways this year.
Fur is back on the menswear style agenda in all its faux glory. From simple details to full length and fantastic, this once paradigm of 50´s elegance and femininity has developed over time to be not only a gender neutral statement, but also a symbol of luxury and sophistication for the contemporary man’s outerwear. Despite the sheer controversy fur causes with issues of morality as it falls in and out of style, it always seems to present a strong a case as to why it’s a much needed commodity for the fashion forward set. Fur may well be a trend that the everyday man on the street avoids, but as the runways of Milan recently demonstrated, it can instantly enhance a look by adding interest and texture by simple details or by going on a full P-Diddy type extravaganza.
Noted at all the top European Fashion Weeks, fur was a trend which was really popular amongst designers for this season and thanks to fast-fashion trends, has trickled down into high street collections. This observation may not make the notion of fur acceptable to most men on (both a visual or moral sense), but for those that the notion does take, there are a lot more ethical and cost effective options to choose from.
The stereotypical fur coat ( think MTV and RnB stars) is best served in an all over or full length style which can frankly scare even the most iconic of the fashion-forward set; let alone the man on the street who only has a passing interest in fashion and favours stylish and elegant more than Kanye West´s kitsch. Saying that, there were quite a few designers in Milan who showcased more adventurous fur clad outerwear in their collections alongside the more subtle ways to wear the skin.
Fur Full Fendi
You can´t make reference to fur in fashion these days without mentioning the platform of Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi from the infamous Fendi Roma. Several seasons ago, they took their love of fur to the extreme with a jaw (and moral) dropping ´hairy-luxe´ platform featuring an 85 metre runway which was clad in Kidassia goat fur. Fendi’s fur theme ran through its entire collection in a variety of garments ranging from full length fur overcoats and panelled jackets down to discreetly detailed mittens, scarves and baseball caps for a street style that was served in pure, unadorned luxury.
Fendi maintained interest throughout its collection by combining fur with other fabrics; there were various lengths of leather jackets with details of fur, creating a kaleidoscope of textures which floated alongside shorter, bomber type fur jackets and cropped, almost gothic fur waistcoats which were paraded under Cruella de Vil style black and white overcoats for a more Avant Garde and directional look.
The Iconic Italians completed their collection by fusing fur into other key pieces of clothing such as a grey roll necked jumper with alternating panels of fur and fabric. The off grey and white piece featured cable knit panels in a pale grey which was coalesced with other materials to create a stunning visual effect which had been scarcely seen before.
Following on with this runway rule, there were other design houses such as Dolce & Gabbana, Roberto Cavalli and Dior Homme which presented a more rousing range of full length furs. An overall aesthetic of Viking chic rang through these collections with the occasional notion of regal and historical elements which payed somewhat of a homage to ´Game Of Thrones´ which Dolce & Gabbana played full reference to with crown headwear and fur outerwear and sweaters featuring knight-in-armour type prints and English cross influenced embellishments for some added visual depth and a rather good history lesson as its narrative.
The more wearable elements of this trend within the runway saw a discreet application of fur panels in the lining of jacket hoods (which was more notable in the 80´s style Parka jackets). Houses such as Dior Homme updated this look by re-working the classic mod style khaki-green parka jacket to give it a real pedigree of European luxury, which allowed them to dress down their other heavily tailored pieces. It was Danish starlets like Astrid Anderssen who ignited the runway with colour by showing mustard yellow Parka´s with a co-ordinating blue-grey fur lined hood.
Another pervasive theme running across Milan´s benefactions were fur accessories; something which appeared in abundance especially at Bottega Veneta where luxurious, full scarves flirted with deep greens for more high profile visual delights. Andrea Pompilio was one of the designers who opted for something a little more different by pairing most of her key looks with full scale luxurious black and white fur hats. Then several shows on, Sibling continued this notion by assigning its model army with imposing white and grey fur neck pieces which caressed a visually soft series of cardigans and outerwear. Masters of Milan, Prada, developed this trend across an almost Avant Garde, straight-jacket type interpretation of a cropped waistcoat which came with a series of straps which were connected to the outside of co-ordinating overcoats.
¨ You cannot fake chic, but you can be chic and fake fur ¨ – Karl Lagerfeld
The appearance of fur on a key selection of garments was an obvious notion which gave a fresh and contemporary lift to many collections. Armani´s knitwear included fur chest panels and contrasting fabric sleeves as well as his all over fur sweaters to the delight of Franca Sozzani; while staying on the theme of knitwear, Louis Vuitton presented V-neck jumpers with thick fur panels which were anchored across the torso then blended seamlessly into their chunky knits. This oversized notion was adopted by Gucci and served in a deep marine blue for the ultimate statement knit of the season.
A detail that you don´t see every day; fur was applied to Dolce & Gabbana’s casual, oversized sweatshirts which could very well see this trend creeping its way into sport-luxe for a new ultra-sport luxe trend. Over at Valentino, a mixture of furs and patchworks made a strong visual feature on outerwear which was presented in a series of muted colours and various lengths, a look which it executed across all outerwear, from full length to hip skimming.
How To Wear
In the same manner as shearling, the daily practical use for all over fur is not that common. Items which use fur as a detail or an accent are likely to have a much greater appeal and application; fur lapels and collars will be both more accessible and easy to wear for the party season and more formal events. Many designers have already championed the use of fur collars on everything from pea coats to the iconic Parka for the ultimate in less-is-more luxury style.
This article serves as an emerging trend report, so due to the nature of this and the fact that many of the high end fashion houses only release such items and prices on demand, there is a lack of comprehensive information to substantiate and develop further thoughts. With faux fur items making their way into current seasonal offerings from shops such as Reiss, Zara and Whistles, it should be more apparent at the height of winter just how many affordable variations the high street will present to stylishly counteract the chills of winter.
As long as there is fashion, there will always be fur and however controversial it may be, re-interpretations by top design houses will always help to keep it trending as it continues to make a ´re-fur-gence´ season after season.
Article: Charles Daniel McDonald
Photography: Camera Moda Press / Each Respective Designer