Where the Wild Things Are

It doesn’t seem that long ago when protesters were spray painting mink fox, and beaver fur coats in Aspin, Colorado.  Now, designers are offering a plethora of wild skins from which to choose – the more exotic, the better!

There is no better illustration than Beyonce’s body suite for her Super Bowl halftime performance.  The costume, designed by Rubin Singer, was made of a combination of leather, panels of python and iguana.   Who would have ever dreamed of such a combination?

Lightweight leather has been a luxurious addition to collections for the last two seasons and the fall runway shows stepped far beyond animal prints to include lamb, kangaroo, reindeer, yak, ostrich and iguana.

The kangaroo skins used in the Cushinie et Oks collection were described as lightweight but plush.  “It fees like a long-haired velvet, like a teddy bear.”  Billy Reid used nutria in his menswear fall collection.  Nutria, a wild rodent and considered a pest, are plentiful in Louisiana.  This skin has been a less expensive staple for years in fur creations.

One fashion trend forecaster commented that these exotic skins add value to the garment but pointed out that there is the “Ick” factor!  How many people will warm up to the idea of sporting a garment of iguana?  Then there is the practical side of maintaining such a garment.  Where to find a dry cleaner qualified to handle such skins?

When asked why one would take the trouble to wrestle with the nuances of such  unusual skins, Mr. Singer replied, “Because it’s fabulous!”  Hmmm.  Fabulous may be confined to a small group of designer and their tight group of followers.  I don’t think I am ready for kangaroo, reindeer, yak, and certainly not iguana!


Information from 2-20-13 Wall Street Journal article.

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