After hundreds of shows across the fashion capitals, Paris closed the AW16 season by joining the rest of the industry’s designers in a strong fur statement. Fox and mink have played an integral role in the collections as part of a wider return to couture-like elements and dressing up. In Paris, fox was showcased in glamorous full fur outwear and as lavish accents, while mink continues to be used for incredible intarsia pieces.
The cool factor of fox fur sleeves ruled supreme at Sonia Rykiel in an uplifting, seventies-fuelled show where dyed caramel fox sleeves looked ultra-chic on a denim and suede jacket. A boucle dress was set off with silvery frosted dyed blue fox sleeves and the same colouring was used on a great mink swinger. Evening dresses and shoes came with cute fox fur pom-poms.
Ellery’s collaboration with Saga Furs resulted in voluminous fox coats and jackets dyed salmon pink, plum and black, where subtle tiered patterns had been added to give further textural interest to the beautiful furs.
Thomas Tait consistently works with superior materials and has chosen Saga Furs to collaborate with on his fur pieces. This season, a black hyper-worked leather and suede coat with striking stitch and lace details featured panels in black mink. The piece was constructed in such a way that the coat altered its shape depending on how you closed it.
According to Kanye West, his wife’s famous figure had served as inspiration at Balmain. Kim Kardashian’s curves and love of fur were certainly felt throughout, not least in the opening look worn by Kendall Jenner: an icy grey corseted dress where the lightest of silvery Finnraccoon was used to exaggerate the hips. Elsewhere, the Fox-on-Fabric technique also brought sensual femininity to little hip-hugging fox mini skirts.
Ballet’s delicate, romantic aesthetic informed Valentino’s collection. Here, the ballet dancer’s fluffy shrug was re-imagined as a dreamy cape in pastel-hued fox tiles. Another standout piece was a beautiful long intarsia mink coat dyed in pastels with flashes of red and pink hearts placed symbolically on the sleeves.
Intarsia mink also made an appearance at Givenchy in Riccardo Tisci’s gothic-Egyptian fantasy, where faintly hieroglyphic iconography covered a mink jacket dyed in warm desert colours. Cleopatra-worthy transparent robes with opulent fox trims hung loosely around the models’ shoulders and dragged nonchalantly along the floor.
Filling in until Raf Simons’ successor is announced at Christian Dior, studio directors Serge Ruffieux and Lucie Meier showed furs that balanced Dior’s signature silhouettes with the graphic and modern, seen in a white sheared mink coat with a dramatic burnished fur trim statement portrait collar.
Elie Saab’s girl looked like she’d taken the LA Coachella look to a Parisian nightclub with a series of luxe hippie fur looks. Fox gilets and jackets dyed midnight blue or black were worn over flowing dresses while a fringed leather and mink vest put a glitzy spin on the bohemian-chic staple.
Valentin Yudashkin explored the beauty of Siberian nature, and naturally fur had a starring role. Silver Fox stoles were dyed in smoky gold and intense green – the latter also running through glossy black mink as stylised intarsia flowers. The late seventies-early eighties full fox statement coat we’ve been seeing throughout the season made an appearance as well, in opulent Silver Fox.
At Saint Laurent, full fox looks gave a strong nod to Monsieur Saint Laurent’s iconic 1940s-inspired green boxy fox jacket with pronounced shoulders from 1971. Hedi Slimane sent out a version in Majorelle Blue with shoulders raised high towards the ceiling, and looked to the heart (a house symbol in Monsieur Saint Laurent’s day) for the closing look: a vibrant red fox chubby curved into a heart shape – a love letter to fur which was shared over and over on social media.
As always, the week closed with Miu Miu, where Miuccia Prada played with the idea of penniless aristocrats playing dress-up with their still-opulent brocade-heavy wardrobes. Fur of course featured prominently: velvet robes and workwear jackets were trimmed with plush Silver Fox cuffs, and Silver Fox stoles were tied around shoulders with thick silk ribbons – a major trend for AW16.