The early 2012 fashion season has seen a return to fur jackets and exotic skins, as retro stylings influenced by the 1940s, early 1960s, and 1970s have become this year’s hottest looks. Some of the world’s top fashion houses have features coyote, lynx, mink, and other fur in their new collections, as decorative trims, as sleeves, and even in full garments such as the capes featured by Hermès, Rick Owens, and Lanvin. We’ve seen fur knitted, backed, woven and dip-dyed, and fur skirts have joined fur jackets as fashionable luxury items this year. Miu Miu showed off tippets and stoles in the spirit of Mildred Pierce, while Burberry touted fur-trimmed cardigans. Meanwhile, Gucci and Prada showed snakeskin pencil skirts and python cocoon coats.
In times of economic hardship, fashion houses love to create the last word in luxury – and fur has always been the most luxurious material of all. As much of the world tightens its belt against the faddish trends and flighty pieces that become prevalent in times of fiscal woe, those with the means to be stylish like to flaunt their fashion even more. Thus, the economic downturn has happily accompanied a surge in the fortunes of furriers, as the fur trade has continued to grow steadily over the last several years.
It seems not too long ago that supermodels were refusing to wear fur, but fur jackets and coats have gradually been finding their ways onto the catwalks – and onto the shoulders of celebrities – with increasing frequency over the last two years. In fact, Naomi Campbell, one of the five supermodels who posed for a memorable anti-fur Peta ad campaign 17 years ago, has since been the face of an ad campaign for the popular furrier Dennis Basso. Of those five supermodels who posed for the Peta ads in the 1990s, Campbell is one of four who have since reversed their positions and supported fur as the industry has seen a considerable revival. In, the U.K., for example, fur sales are up over 40 percent since 2009, now at £83 million. In the last ten years, fur sales worldwide are up by nearly 70 percent.