new york autumn winter 07/08

by Marilyn Kirschner

This is a season shaping up to be a huge fur season (PETA be damned!) So, it's not surprising that veteran furrier, Gilles Mendel has managed to stay ahead of the curve and right on track. After all, he has always been known as an innovator, with a youthful and hip approach to an age old industry. This season, he was inspired by the idea of Hollywood 1940's glamour and his aim was to "reinvent a classic lean silhouette with a defined waist in futuristic fabrics". He said he wanted to "break all the classic rules" and to achieve that end he mixed lame with wool, patent with chiffon, mixed 'savage' furs (like nutria and fisher) with precious ones (like sable, mink, and chinchilla). He was also going for a sportier feeling and certainly achieved this goal as well.

He worked fur with fabric and he worked fur with fur (or furs). In one instance he added wild type mink sleeves to a beautifully tailored black wool coat with obi trench belt (something he used throughout the collection in order to define the waist); he fashioned a fitted suit with pencil skirt from black and white tweed and added mahogany mink sleeves. A white silken lamb coat had an enormous white fin raccoon hood and was belted with a white satin obi trench belt (a 'bridal' fur?) Another over the top short coat was comprised of brown broadtail, black squirrel and silver fox. Overkill? Well, maybe. But it sure looked great. He was able to quilt grey broadtail and tailor it into a coat, to which he added a massive silver fox hood. And massive fox hoods were unexpectedly added to several dreamy, floating evening gowns including a black pleated silk chiffon and satin beauty which had a black fox hood and were belted with a black satin obi trench belt.

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