Fur and shearling take centre stage – AW 16

Friday 11th March 2016

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Fur and shearling made their mark across all four leading AW16 fashion weeks, with an estimated 70% of collections overall featuring the natural material. Considering that fur was also hugely prominent during the menswear AW 16 collections earlier in the year, it’s clear that designers and consumers are enjoying using and wearing natural materials in greater numbers. From the hugely eye-catching coats of BCBGMAXAZRIA and Michael Kors to the subtle craftsmanship from Carolina Herrera, New York Fashion Week saw 91 of 156 designers (58%) craft beautiful collections with fur. Coach 1941 delivered an oversized coat which echoed a similar piece featured during its menswear AW 16 collection, whilst DKNY crafted a slouched vest-like dress in brilliant black fur.

Though there’s less fur on show in London than in Paris, Milan and New York, its love of natural materials is on the rise, with an estimated 37 of the 79 designers (47%) incorporating fur and shearling into their collections, contradicting figures pushed out by animal rights bodies. This is an increase on last year’s London collections which saw 20% of designers use fur in their AW15 collections, according to a TNS poll. Stand out fur items were Roksanda’s simply elegant longline pieces and Christopher Kane’s extravagant yet deconstructed fur coats. However, it was Alexander McQueen’s return to London after 15 years that took centre stage. With McQueen’s collection set in a dreamscape, slick tailored leather coats embroidered with butterflies created a simple canvas for large yet subtle fur lapels to rest upon.

Fur and shearling made their biggest impact during Milan Fashion Week, with 55 of the 65 designers (85%) crafting beautiful garments with the materials; from Gucci’s oversized pink coat and fur lined loafers to Roberto Cavalli’s gothic-inspired draped coats and intricately detailed ponchos. Many designers used fur across the majority of their collections, with Fendi, Gucci and Prada all creating cuffs, coats and accessories with the versatile material across a high number of their pieces. The final week in Paris saw fur play a strong part across a broad range of French designers’ collections, with 51 of the 92 designers (55%) using the material. Oversized was the key trend here, with the likes of Chloé, Lanvin and Rochas crafting pelts into long-flowing puffed coats to give a tough city look ready for any weather condition.

Mark Oaten, CEO of International Fur Federation (IFF), said: “To see fur being used in the AW collections in ever more creative ways is testament to the versatility and continued appeal of this wonderful natural material. I’ve talked for a long time now about how fur fashion is so much more than the clichéd brown mink coat. Designers are increasingly pushing the boundaries as the industry develops new techniques, allowing them to inject new excitement and energy into fur fashion and broadening its appeal globally.”