return of the fur coat

Monday, October 24, 2005, 14:38

it is with some surprise that i have to report the return of the fur coat in male fashion this season, a suspicion i already had when i attended the hugo boss show lately and saw a full-lenght mink on one of the long haired models, only later realizing that it was a male model and the hip swinging fur was obviously intended for the not-so-fair sexes.

having been in the eye of the anti-fur-campaign-storm of PETA and the like not so long ago and being in the posession of several furs, all inherited, old and with the suicide notes of the animals on the record (no, really, the mink of my late greatfather was only worn in deepest winter, basically falls apart if not constantly mended and is over thirty years old), I once had the pleasure of entering a publishing house through a throng of greenpeace-demonstrators. it did not really help that i wore gucci-pythons and i felt instantly bad, suddenly remebering that at home there are two zebra-skins on the floor, one champagne-cow and a bedsheet of at least 24 white snow-rabbits. call me conservative, but being of slim built i trust during the harsh berlin winters and the foggy days of hamburg, not to speak of the ski-slopes of gstaad and the icy bahnhofstreet in zurich in granddaddys mink as the only resolve of my slim and trim body not to freeze on the spot. i once bought a shorter rabbit-fur jacket from dolce & gabbana, when i had some spare money, heeding my mother´s somewhat ironic words that „a fur holds for alifemtime“, thereby giving fuel to the suspicion that she intends to reincarnate several times, according to the shere quantity of coats that she and her mother interchange, present to each other and buy fresh every year.

there must be a campaign of the international fur-lobby that has outgrown the anti-fur-initiatives on a greater scale.
gucci astrakhan coat
a friend of mine, being confronted on the runway with the aforementioned coat looked into the eyes of her husband with a funny face and said: „don´t you dare to cross the street in one of these“ – he guiltily looked at his feet and i felt the trembling lust of his male vanity to once, only once give vent to his playboy feelings in some plebejan surroundings. i myself have experienced snickers and bickering on the main shopping streets in hamburg, usually by men looking like moving lycra-tents themselves in colours that would enable them to be found easily by rescue-teams should they happen to be in an accident on sea or in the mountains alike – i did not heed them, being brave and and usued to the less fashionnables remarks. not even my own father, a rather conservative man, ever remarked on my fur in a disregarding way – he is evidently used to his extravagant offspring, and i am in the possession of some very revealing black-and-white fotos showing him with 25 years and unmistakably with the hair of elvis. perhaps we have a gentlemens agreement without even knowing it.

in the new issue of german gq style i counted twenty fur coats until i lost count, and not all looked worthy for a count or a count´s outfit. in the vogue homme international of autumn, also just off the press, one finds at least thirty pictures of fur coats on men, and if not full lenght and on the outside, then with fur trimmings or collars. thinking instantly of a production centering only on furs (should i at last be able to bring a publisher to the idea of a long needed men´s fashion mag in germany centering on trend and not so much on ageing barmen, anti-gay machos and bikini-spreads of 14year old russian women with body-implants and the „take-me-home-i´m-stark-naked-and -only-wait-for-a-rich-boring-german-middle-manager“): I was stunned to see one rather good one just on the news-stand, the otherwise remarkably dull FHM style, done, of all persons, by the ex-tenant of one of my apartments (he never paid on time, but all summed up in the end), XX YY, a talented photographer all right.

it was a spread showing basically naked men on horses draped in fur coats, and apart from their elegance and the admittedly phantastic vision of the ususal consumer being rather reluctant to get on a horse at all, apart from being naked under a fur, it gave one really valid piece of information: the price.

here my little trend report with the velocity of a greek play suddenly turns into a drama. let it be known that even the simplest rabbit-fur will cost you at least 3500 euro, a sum i can hardly believe since mine in 1996 cost about 900 deutsche mark or 450 euro. are rabbits that scarce nowadays or are fashionistas that greedy? has the price for skins exploded lately (i´ll do the research in a second and will keep you informed here)? the gucci cost around 11 000 euro and i can hardly wait to see one of the singing ghetto blasters of overseas run about in it, as if the czar never had to flee the winter palace and in the event changed his colour. eddy murphy in the prince of zamunda springs to mind, and let it be far from me to be politically incorrect, but i simply find these price tags bordering on the obscene nowadays. a coat in the reach of a small vehicle or the daily income of a third world country hardly seems to be the right answer to the already widening gap in society – or the appearance of fur coats for men might mark the beginning of the end, a final signal for the revolution.

sable coats

when and where can one wear it? these coats will be the mainstay of short visits into discotheques and posh restaurants, them being to warm to wear in a car. the disappearance of the fur was – let us remember – due to the fact that one did NOT ride out during winter, was usually not in the midst of siberia and spent most of the remains of the day in warm, air-conditioned houses. the astrakhan-jacket of armani would perhaps be a conditio-sine-qua-non for some bangladeshi potentate visiting the outskirts of earthquake-stricken cashmere, but in europe and in other surroundings than new bond street or the champs elysees it will surely raise some eyebrows. and rightly so.

it is the fashion, ok. but why? since fashion very seldom works without cause, there is, in my view, only one explanation: the rising oil price. since many central heatings will have to be turned off more often, modern man thinks ahead and buys himself some self-sufficing, efficient, portable heating system. and it costs the equivalent of a modest houses winter supply of heating oil. makes sense, somehow. or doesn´t it?