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Getting Animal – Getting Warm

agata-mayer-getting-warm-fendi-furs-staying-warmSpecial Review by Agata Mayer, Editor-in-chief

Fashion Weeks came to an end. It’s been a hectic period jam-packed with exciting activities, business meetings and jet lag feeling. The most prominent fashion weeks are held in the four fashion capitals of the world: Milan, Paris, New York and London. But more often, everybody’s eyes are looking at other corners of the world, where countries like Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Belgium, China, South Africa, Russia, Singapore, Mexico are going to set tongues wagging, in a very positive way. Fashion Weeks held several months in advance of the season. From January through April designers showcase their autumn and winter collections. From September through November they present their spring and summer collections. This season, furs and animal prints were a common denominator on the catwalks.

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KEEP CALM & LOVE FUR

In the 90s, Italian designers celebrated the return of high-voltage fashion. Their fascination with animal skins and luxurious furs evoked an impression of decadent glamour. Leopard, cheetah and zebra prints that have long provided inspiration for fashion designers are back again. In contemporary fashion, wearing animal skin is interpreted as a desire to convey predatory instincts. A spotted woman in a animal coat might represent the archetypal femme fatale. Italy became an international centre of fashion after World War II. During the 1950s, combining traditions of Parisian haute couture with the Italian aesthetic the Fontana Sisters designed clothes for many Hollywood’s world-famous divas, such as Grace Kelly, Elizabeth Taylor or Ava Gardner. They specialized in luxurious evening wear that contrasted perfectly with the softness of the silver fox stole draped around the arms.
In addition to animal prints, real fur had to finally find a way of interpreting it in fashion without compromising ethical concerns, having the animal rights movement from 1980s and the both national and international legislation from 1973 against it. Karl Lagerfeld, which originally specialized in fur and luxury leather goods, being creative consultant to the Italian Fendi modernized the label and changed the perception of fur as a conventional symbol. Nowadays, over 70 % of recent catwalk shows featured fur, from Marc Jacobs or Louis Vuitton to J. Mendel, Max Mara and Marni.
But there are still anti-fur designers such as Stella McCartney. She has never bowed to pressure to use leather or fur in her collections and has even resisted the lure of faux-fur in the past. But suddenly she has created a cruelty-free collection for Autumn/Winter 2015 with faux fur. Being asked why, she answered: “I feel like maybe things have moved on, and it’s time, and we can do fabrics which look like fur, if we take them somewhere else”, adding “Modern fake fur looks so much like real fur, that the moment it leaves the atelier no one can tell it’s not the real thing. And I’ve struggled with that.”

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Fur, fake or not and animal motifs played a key role throughout this season. It is said, that in fashion world leopard is a color. Animal prints are timeless, chic and always in style. The leopard trend never fades that easily and can be used in almost any form. This year’s catwalks showed more wildness and savagery than ever. For instance, Raf Simons, Dior’s creative director turned to more raw and primal inspirations for the Autumn/Winter 2015 Dior collection. He pushed fashion boundaries again. From floral, romantic, emotional pieces to swirling psychedelic panther prints and strong, contrasting colors. Christian Dior first offered leopard print in 1947, which was revolutionary at the time. Today, it doesn’t bother anyone anymore. Roberto Cavalli’s ready-to-wear collection displayed an array of ombré dresses, fur coats and iconic animal prints. “Instinct? I like that word,” said Miuccia Prada after her show. Her collection was also full of multi-colored leopard and python prints and dense patterns.
Is the fashion industry trying to force it on us or maybe society is finally ready to embrace fur?
Take a look at some ‘furry’ printed fashion statements.

House of Holland show, Autumn Winter 2015, London Fashion Week, Britain - 21 Feb 2015

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Image source: www.vogue.co.uk