If you've been afraid to buy a fur coat for fear the cat will never forgive you, this could be the season to throw caution to the wind.
Go ahead, be kind to animals, save the seals, buy tofu-burgers instead of beef. Keep your karma clear. And do it all in an animal jacket. Neither minks nor lynx can point a finger if you're wearing the newest furs this season.
They're fake. And the wheel of fashion being what it is, they are fake like they haven't been in years. Dozens have been designed by Thierry Mugler, Karl Lagerfeld, Norma Kamali, Ronaldus Shamask and other top names in the fashion field who say they're doing it not to support any social cause. They simply like the fabric.
"It's practically indestructible, and you don't have to keep it in cold storage," Shamask says.
Unlike the ne'r-do-well fakes of the '50s, the new breed is not meant to pass for real fur. These come in psychedelic colors, or unnatural stripes, or shades of red or even pink. And they aren't a thrifty substitute. (Prices for fakes can top $1,000.)
"They're designed ," Shamask insists. "Not tasteless." But they have a sense of humor to them. You can take them seriously or not."
He styled a jaguar jacket from a fabric intended for stuffed animal toys. And gave it the treatment of his origami-inspired sportswear collection. His jacket forms lavish folds in front and a shawl collar so full you can wear it as a hood.
Norma Kamali, another designer known for her sportswear, has ventured into the fake fur jungle this season too. She cuts a full-length fake leopard coat with more drama and flare than the real stuff Joan Crawford might have worn nearly 40 years ago. Never one for understatement, she accessorizes her fake with a generous fake fur muff and a pillbox hat.
Thierry Mugler makes beaver-textured jackets in '60s shapes and electric rainbow colors. The one pictured here is a chub in shades of purple and pink. Karl Lagerfeld's bottle-blue and claret coat, a "mink," is cut in a lean, kimono shape that stops short of the knee. The cut is classic, but not the color,
Lagerfeld works with a new synthetic called Furtastic, manufactured by Toray Industries. The company plans to introduce seal, sable and fox fakes in the near future. Like most of the synthetics used for modern fake-fur coats, this is water-repellent, and it can be dry cleaned.
If the new fake furs have anything in common with the real thing, it is in the way you wear them-- "with jeans or an evening dress," Shamask suggests. But to treat them like everyday jackets or coats could border on overkill.
Shamask suggests: "Only wear them when you want to be noticed."
Styled by ERIN DONLEY, hair styles by TONY LUCHA for CLOUTIER, makeup by JEFF JUDD