What role does fur play in your collection(s)?
Fur was an essential when building my name and the image and sensibility of my line. It was important to convey luxury and exclusivity.
Why do you like working with fur? Which fur technique and/or treatment are you into lately?
The luxury of fur makes it wonderful to work with. And with so many new techniques we can now apply some of the same treatments and sensibilities to fur that we see on other fabrics. I like working with gradation, going from sheared to super-sheared or long-haired fur. I like marrying different fur types. And the piecing of fur on chiffon is great in that it allows me to create a weightless, beautiful garment.
Which fur types do you favor? Why?
Sable has always been my favorite fur. Rich, Russian Barguzine sable. Or Honey Sable. And I love Broadtail, Indian lamb and, lately, squirrel. But our challenge is to elevate more common furs or fur not thought about in a while to the luxury level. New techniques allow us as designers to create a rabbit piece that has a sense of luxury similar to sable. The idea of luxury has changed and it is up to us to define luxury for the consumer.
As a rule, who is today’s fur customer? Do you see a specific age group? A lifestyle?
It is difficult to define this so narrowly. A woman of a certain age who has quite a few coats will continue to collect if the fashion is there. She is looking for a statement, perhaps something a bit more youthful than earlier purchases. The younger customer, perhaps even relatively new to fur, likes luxurious shrugs, in sable for example, and other smaller pieces that allow her to make an entrance then shimmy into a booth comfortably.
How do you see fur worn today versus a generation [or two] ago?
Today fur is worn more practically. A silk raincoat lined in luxurious fur. Or a Tibetan paisley coat lined in fur. Styles are more eclectic, more Louise Nevelson than Gloria Guiness.
Why do you think fur has been growing in popularity among designers? consumers?
Because fur is sexy. It simply exudes sex.
How would you introduce a male client to fur versus a female client?
I love to design for men on a couture level. My approach to men’s wear is eclectic……masculine, modern, not conservative or traditional. I love the idea of a ski parka in rubber with industrial zippers lined in sable. Or a black motorcycle jacket in broadtail with leather sleeves.
Since your days as a student and now as designer, how has fur /fur fashion evolved for you in the last few years?
Since my first collection in 1980 I have seen the fur customer evolve in their demand for greater sophistication and quality. Fearing the economy, unfortunately, many retailers have gone in the opposite direction creating somewhat of a disparity.
What is the fur type you’d recommend for a first-timer? Why?
I would recommend a super-sheared mink quilted to look like a velvety down coat or jacket. With a sable collar. Luxurious and very wearable. But for a very first piece for a much smaller investment I would suggest a sable scarf. For men or women. It feels and looks sensational!
What are the key fur pieces/silhouettes for the coming season? The key trends in fur fashion for the upcoming 2011/2012 season?
I love the parka….like my read sable ski parka. The Tibetan prayer coat is a key item in my collection. And the silk raincoat lined in fur remains an important piece.
Have you ever regretted a design? Fur or not!
Yes! I once chopped and sheared a white mink at different levels. It looked like a punk haircut!
Have clients made you blush with a private order? What was the request? Did you do it?
For a special client I designed a sable coat with embroidery by Lesage. It was truly exceptional….and one of the most expensive things I’ve ever done!
How would you recycle/rework grandma’s mink coat?
I would make pillows.
What is the most extravagant item of clothing you’d like to design?
I would like to work with NASA, perhaps designing flight suits using their incredible fabric technologies.
Which celebrity is your “muse”?
I have been fortunate and honored to dress many exceptional women.
What is your favorite food/meal?
Flourless chocolate cake with a moist center.
Your favorite thing to do on a day off?
Work out, read a book, take a nap, relax!
The last book you read?
Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life by Justine Picardie.
Your favorite vacation spot?
Venice in the winter.
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