Both Hermes and Givenchy produced fall/ winter 2018-19 collections where leather and fur where the inspiring textiles for their catwalk shows. And they weren’t the only ones, many Paris fashion week designers featured fur and faux fur styles this season. Designs were inspired by a time when glamour was defined by the fur coat, the 1950s. When the fur market was a lot smaller, and only a few could afford such a decadent extravagance.
In the 1950s the fur coat represented the height of luxury, the ultimate object of desire. In popular culture the ambition to own a fur coat was as important as a diamond ring. During this time owning a lush, thick fur coat was a status symbol. It defined the quality a woman’s femininity, and raised her desirability amongst her peers.
So how should we feel about the use of animal skin and fur in fashion today? Truth is, the fur coat is still a status symbol of wealth and a posh lifestyle. But should the upcoming generation of women be inspired? Or should they be outraged, as animal rights activists insist? Should we applaud the advances the fur industry has made in animal welfare? Should we embrace fake fur, or worry about it’s harmful effects on the environment as well?
Well, the subject is still very sensitive but it’s one that we need to discuss more. As an omnivore myself, it is difficult to say I’m against fur while eating meat. But admittedly I do have a problem with the mass production of fur – which is over 1 million animals per year, double since the ’90s according to the International Fur Federation (IFF). And I have a problem with the sustainability issues of faux fur.
Designers, too, go back and forth on this issue, Isabel Marant swore off the use of fur a few years back but brought it back for her fall/ winter 2018-19 collection.
And Clare Waight Keller made a surprising decision when she fell in step with Gucci swearing off the fur textile for the house of Givenchy. All of the gorgeous furs at her show yesterday were fake.
But, the Givenchy fall/ winter 2018-19 looks in leather were all quite real.
Hermes created an entire line of modest fashion in decadent leather but leather is what the fashion house is known for, it’s how they made their start. The fall/ winter 2018-19 designs were created in leather and tanned to a sleek and shimmery texture in subdued and retro colors.
So who are they designing for? My guess is the up and coming wealthy Chinese and Russian markets, as well as the long-standing wealthy clients from the United Arab Emirates. That isn’t to say nouveau riche Americans won’t buy a mink either, real or faux.