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Trend Alert: Classic Mink Coat Styles For Every Generation

When a classic mink coat came parading down the runway during Valentino’s SS 2017 presentation we could barely conceal our excitement.  Did this herald the full-on return of this timeless, elegant style?

Valentino Spring 2017 classic mink style

Valentino Spring 2017 classic mink style

From the 1950’s onward the classic mink has epitomized stylishness and sophistication for generations of women.  It was a wardrobe staple that upped the glamour quotient for silver screen stars of the era including Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren.  In films like “Butterfield 8”, “Imitation of Life” and “All About Eve” the mink coat easily established the sophisticated lifestyles of major characters. For the women in my grandmother’s and even my mother’s circle of friends their mink coats announced success and a fashionable life.   Then in 1968 Blackglama kicked of their “What Becomes a Legend?” campaign featuring the most important celebrities of the day proudly wearing mink coats to firmly establish their positions of luxury and high-fashion.  The mink coat may have been the single most important image-evoking garment a woman could own.

"Imitation of Life" (1959)

“Imitation of Life” (1959)

"All About Eve" featuring actress Betty Davis

“All About Eve” featuring actress Betty Davis

Audrey Hepburn in a quintessential classic mink

Audrey Hepburn in a quintessential classic mink

Butterfield 8 (1960) Directed by Daniel Mann Shown: Elizabeth Taylor

Butterfield 8 (1960)
Directed by Daniel Mann
Shown: Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor

Elizabeth Taylor in the 60s

The iconic Jackie Onassis

The iconic Jacqueline Kennedy

Lauren Bacall

Lauren Bacall

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

Marilyn Monroe

Marilynn Monroe

Marilynn Monroe

Sophia Loren

Sophia Loren

Blackglama Mink "What Becomes A Legend Most?" Ad Campaign

Blackglama Mink “What Becomes A Legend Most?” Ad Campaign

Bette Davis- "What Becomes A Legend Most?" Ad Campaign

Bette Davis- “What Becomes A Legend Most?” Ad Campaign

Raquel Welch- "What Becomes A Legend Most?" Ad Campaign

Raquel Welch- “What Becomes A Legend Most?” Ad Campaign

Sophia Loren- "What Becomes A Legend Most?" Ad Campaign

Sophia Loren- “What Becomes A Legend Most?” Ad Campaign

Through the 1980’s the mink coat became a “must-have” of the yuppie set.  In fact, I remember when my cousin was hired by a Michigan Avenue ad agency in the early 80’s she celebrated by going to Evans Furs and putting a mink coat on layaway.  Over the years the mink coat became so ingrained in popular culture that it became the keynote of a film title for the Doris Day- Cary Grant  film “That Touch of Mink” and even became the hero of a punk rock song entitled “Don’t Mutilate My Mink”.

Cary Grant, Doris Day, That Touch of Mink. poster

Cary Grant, Doris Day, That Touch of Mink. poster

That Touch of Mink 1962

That Touch of Mink 1962

As we entered the 1990’s and styles became more casual some say that the mink coat lost some of its allure.  Still, I remember when mom and dad headed out for a special date night or a red carpet affair, the mink came out of the closet.  When a woman entered a restaurant wrapped in mink, heads still turned and you could almost hear the collective sigh of envy from women across the room.  She just oozed elegance and class.

Elle France April 1995

Elle magazine April 1995

[arve url=”https://youtu.be/XLUGULWxUTA&ab_channel=stylerunner7″ align=”center” thumbnail=”107942″ title=”Yves Saint Laurent haute couture fall winter 1995 – part 1″ description=”Yves Saint Laurent haute couture fall winter 1995 – part 1″]

Then, as the new millennium hit and girls began to inherit those beautiful mink coats from their mothers and grandmothers, they established a new style statement for the classic mink coat.  Whether vintage, or new, the clean lines and plush texture of the mink coat continue to add an element of chic to a broad range of looks for women of all ages.  Most recently, the classic mink coat has played a major role in films like “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “Carol”, translating into growing popularity as a fashion item.  Uber-celebrities and fashionistas including Kim Kardashian and Rhianna have perfected the cool, easy elegance of the classic mink.  On the streets during the cold blasts of the past two winters the classic mink was everywhere.

The iconic figure Margot Tenebaum in the 2001 film The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

The iconic figure Margot Tenebaum in the 2001 film The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)

cate-blanchett-fur-coat-carol-movie

Cate Blanchet was the quintessential 1960s housewife clad in her classic blond mink coat in the 2015 hit movie "Carol"

Cate Blanchett was the quintessential 1960s housewife clad in her classic blond mink coat for the 2015 hit movie “Carol”

Catherine Zeta Jones in a fur coat in New York

Catherine Zeta Jones in a fur coat in New York

Catherine Zeta Jones in a fur coat in New York

Catherine Zeta Jones in a fur coat in New York

There's nothing basic or outdated when Rihanna rocks a classic mink silhouette

There’s nothing basic or outdated when Rihanna rocks a classic mink silhouette

Kim Kardashian occasionally reaches for a classic mink as well

Kim Kardashian occasionally reaches for a classic mink as well

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian

la-modella-mafia-christine-centenera-street-style-chic-in-a-big-fur-and-chanel-boy-bag-2

Vintage mink furs are all the rage with young fashion lovers

Is the classic mink back?  Or did it ever go away?  From Valentino to Dennis Basso and J. Mendel the classic mink has been reappearing on the runways with new twists.  Timeless and chic, it makes the perfect statement whether worn over ath-leisure wear to meet the girls for lunch, parading down Madison Avenue over a crisp, elegant suit or worn with an evening gown for a red carpet affair.  Like the classic blazer or the perfect white shirt, the enduring style, versatility and wearability of the classic mink may just make it one of the most important and valued wardrobe investments you’ll make.

Dennis Basso Fall 2016

Dennis Basso Fall 2016

J. Mendel Fall 2016

J. Mendel Fall 2016

Bibhu Mohapatra Fall 2016

Bibhu Mohapatra Fall 2016

Carmen Marc Valvo RTW Fall 2016

Carmen Marc Valvo RTW Fall 2016

Dennis Basso Fall 2016

Dennis Basso Fall 2016

Derek Lam Fall 2016

Derek Lam Fall 2016

Helen Yarmak Fall 2016

Helen Yarmak Fall 2016

J. Mendel Fall 2016

J. Mendel Fall 2016

MoniqueLhuillier Fall 2016

MoniqueLhuillier Fall 2016

Moschino Fall 2016

Moschino Fall 2016

Oscar de la Renta Fall 2016

Oscar de la Renta Fall 2016

Roksanda Fall 2016

Roksanda Fall 2016

Sonia Rykiel Fall 2016

Sonia Rykiel Fall 2016

No matter the fashion, the classic mink has always been in style.