This past December I bought a fur coat. I never set out for a purchase of this kind, for several reasons: weather in Britain rarely calls for such extreme wrapping, fur coats are generally bulky therefore tend to overwhelm my small frame, and also because, in spite of already owning a couple of collars and a double fox pelt, I remain somewhat ambivalent about fur, albeit vintage.
So here I am with my impulse purchase, which I tried on out of curiosity for the fit and ended up not being able to leave behind.
Before I carry on, I expect that the caricature above might inspire some of your comments. Whereas I am fully aware that fur is a controversial subject, I have no desire to entertain a conversation about the moral issues surrounding fur, as justified as they may be, I am merely sharing an interest in a vintage item of fashion. There are plenty of other outlets to express your moral position should you wish to do so. I would like to remind everyone that my blog is a personal space and I hope that you will respect that. Thank you.
I must say this coat is very cosy, soft and lightweight. The fur is silky and short, the vendor wasn't quite sure as to the type of fur but suggested rabbit.
With little expertise in this field, after a few hours of research I concluded that it could only be that or some type of weasel. It doesn't feel like a domestic cat, which is apparently one way to identify rabbit fur, but I guess processing can significantly change the texture and appearance of a fur. Rabbit fur is the lowest quality fur out there, and in the 50's they would have shaved it, dyed it, and generally processed the hell out of it in order to make it look higher end.
Rabbit fur also sheds badly and has a "life" expectancy of only 3 to 5 years, so if this is rabbit it certainly keeps in fantastic shape, with no bold patches of any kind and no shedding whatsoever.
The coat has not one, but two labels which say "Hopetonella - Furs of Distinction" and "Fashioned exclusively from skins produced by Chapal of Paris".
I had little luck in researching the first one, but the second bears the name of well known company in the fur and leather industry, going back as far as 1832 and still strong in present day.
The 1950's adverts above are for Chapal products and both boast the merits of rabbit (coney) furs. I have borrowed them, together with the previous caricature, from Chapal's website, which has a very consistent section regarding company's history with plenty of photographs if anyone is interested.
While the labels place this item firmly in the 50's, I felt that I could also make it work with my 30's wardrobe. At the end of the day swing shapes were very fashionable as far as mid to late thirties coats go, and other features such as the raglan sleeve, roomier in the middle, as well as the turned cuffs and large collar (that can sit flat or stand up) further contribute to facilitating that impression.
A friend pointed to me that an alteration must have been done to this coat as the bottom row of pelts are significantly shorter then the others. Looking at these pics I am now convinced they are right and the coat would have been longer originally and therefore more aesthetically balanced. Luckily since I am only 5f 4 this hardly constitutes a tragedy.
And here is what I wore underneath: a green knit ensemble that I haven't had the chance to show so far on this blog. It was too cold today though to take more photographs of it outside, so I'll just tease you with this one and leave the details for a future post.
I wore it with: vintage malachite necklace and earrings, embroidered linen blouse from the 70's (used to be ma's), modern croc impressed leather belt, and a most recent purchase - 1930's shoes which I love and suffer for (yes, small is the word).