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General News    H3'ed 2/21/09

Earth to Fur Designers

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Message Martha Rosenberg
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The fox that the pet shop owner in England raised from a baby sleeps on the couch, walks with a leash and wags her tail when happy.

The dogs which China relabels as "Asian wolf" and "Sobak" kick their free limbs and writhe while heartless workers skin them alive for US fur garments.

But designers like Donna Karan, Giorgio Armani, Thakoon Panichgul, Chris Benz, Tracy Reese, Joseph Altuzarra and Peter Som are oblivious to the species banality of fur.

Nor are they in touch with the worst-of-times economy, Fashion Week reveals.

Sure fur "touches" like the gauntlets on Donna Karan's coats and jackets--think arm casts--fur cowls on Tracy Reese's sleeveless tops (right) and Joseph Altuzarra's fur trimmed "booties" have always been gratuitous. Who remembers last year's half fur coats with tails and the fur purses? Nor have they stopped making fur golf tees, pet toys and Christmas tree ornaments as what-the-hey novelties. (See: elephant foot umbrella stands)

Sure fur coats themselves, like cigarettes, can only be enjoyed in the privacy of your own home unless you enjoy standing in the cold getting hate looks from strangers.

But what's new this year is an economy in which people lack jobs, clothing budgets and entertainment budgets for the few places they could wear fur (the opera and then there's the opera.) Even charities and arts events are folding.

Covering this year's Fashion Week New York Times reporter Eric Wilson admits there will be few customers for Chris Benz' yellow sheared-mink peacoat--even the nubby buttons are yellow like a bathrobe bought at Rite Aid--which the newspaper shows paired with a yellow leather mini skirt and yellow tights atop spike heels. You're hired.

Nor will people rush out to buy Thakoon Panichgul's knit fox cape in garish orange and green--"like the feathers of a parrot" writes Wilson--and ribbed orange knitted fox bomber--so fugly you want to apologize to the animals twice: once for killing them and a second time for mutilating them into these fashion iterations in which they will endure in perpetuity.

Will people buy Peter Som's broadtail coat from premature or newborn Karakul lambs--think about that--with its never-say-excess iridescent fox color? And model's bare legs to prove the final obscenity-- it's not even about the warmth?

Will people buy monkey fur popularized by Salvatore Ferragamo and revived at major shows this year? Will they wear man's closest relative?

The fact is that fur demand is so flat not one pelt from last years' Nunavut Canadian seal kill sold at this year's Toronto auction according to the Northern News Services! Combined with last year's unsold pelts, that's 11,000 seals, mostly babies, killed for no reason at all. Will it stop this year's "Red Sea" event as the gentlemen pick up their clubs in March?

Finland's famous fur farms are in partial shut down, fur sales along Toronto's Spadina Avenue are at 40 percent and mink, beaver and coyote pelts are going for one dollar in Pompey, New York! (Raccoon and opossum pelts for 25 cents.) Luckily most trappers aren't in it for the money but for the "fun."

In Chicago, the only fur outlet that had customers was Andriana Furs and that's because owner Sohrab Tebyanian was running a drug operation out of the store, crime reports reveal. Was he friends with former Governor Rod Blagojevich's brother like Senator Roland Burris?

A week after Christmas, Macy's was unloading furs at outtahere prices like $378 for a "rabbit" coat--"rabbit" is Chinese for cat, cat lovers be forewarned!-- and $743 for a fox jacket. Saks was selling fur with dressed-only-from-the-waist-up photos of models in the newspaper normally associated with pay web sites and women who get in stopped cars.

And by February, Chicago department store Carson Pirie Scott was selling the ineffable and exquisite luxury of fur with coupons--as in Clip Here!--reminiscent of ads for toilet paper.

Meanwhile, back at Fashion Week in New York the fur gauntlets on Donna Karan's coat are drawing less attention than the gauntlets outside the fur shows. Signs say Fur is a Killer Look.
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Martha Rosenberg Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)

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