STYLE & ERROR One woman tests the trends of the day.
TREND Shaggy.
WHY? Because Lanvin, Chanel, Marc Jacobs, Zac Posen, Alberta Ferretti and Thakoon all went feathers and fur this winter.
TRENDOLOGY Undoubtedly the first trend known to humankind, fur dates back to fall/ winter 4000 BC. Feathers, on the other hand, are a more recent style phenomenon. Damsels stole the idea from medieval knights in armour who wore feather-crested helmets onto the battlefield. As a garnish for everything from hats to burlesque onesies, feathers have, ever since then, been deployed in a very different kind of warfare.

Fashion has summoned the spirit of many muses to its cause—Cleopatra, Brigitte Bardot, Jackie O and, most recently, Princess Margaret—but never have I known it to summon the spirit of Chewbacca. Yet his furry presence was everywhere on the runways. Lest you rush out and acquire yourself a well-behaved mink or an adorably fluffy chinchilla, read on. In keeping with Chewbacca, the fur this season is irascible and long-haired, the kind you need to put a leash on—maybe even a muzzle—before you can wear it out in public. At Lanvin, the wild coats are made of feathers rather than fur, but, to me, they are surprisingly easy to wear.

Abominable-snowman coats go from cave to office to cocktail party without skipping a beat. Wear one, belted or buttoned up, with a pair of non-detracting trousers, boots or hose. The greater challenge comes when you have to integrate a shaggy item with an ensemble. Take the sleeveless shag-pile Marc Jacobs top with cascading Mongolian-shearling ruff. How can you wear one without looking like a goatherd? Or without sweating profusely? Because when you’ve got what amounts to an unsheared poodle draped around your neck, central heating becomes a menace.

How does the fur trend fare when put to the test? Find out on the next page…


Leaving aside temperature issues, the first rule of thumb is to avoid pairing a shaggy top with a shaggy bottom, which means no Alberta Ferretti feather or Chanel fake-fur skirt with your Marc Jacobs shearling. I thought that my A.P.C. jeans and so-square-they’re-cool Ferragamo loafer pumps were a safe option. But, while my daughter couldn’t stop running her fingers through my fur top, nobody commented on the outfit. So, I tried the top with a longer, gathered Louis Vuitton skirt. That got a reaction from my friend Valérie before we went out for dinner. She scrutinized me critically and said, “C’est un peu too much, non?”—which echoed my suspicions exactly. She suggested a pair of cropped Dries Van Noten trousers in charcoal pinstripe, slightly slouchy around the pockets, with black-and-white ponyskin Azzedine Alaïa high-heeled hiking boots. The combination of hairy shoes and top gave off a zoological vibe. My long hair mingled indiscriminately with the sheep-fleece collar. “Very Cro-Magnon,” commented my husband when we arrived at the restaurant. I ordered a steak…rare.


Read more
Fall/Winter 2010-11 trends report
Fall fashion: Knit wits
Fall fashion: The cape
Fall fashion: Winter white