28 Şubat 2012 Salı

Lara Stone's little black leather dress

On Valentine's Day, Lara Stone attended a video exhibit by photographer Solve Sundbo, titled "The Ever Changing Face of Beauty". I had a look at her pics, and immediately shouted out a loud WOW! Look at her  black leather dress! She surely looks incredibly sexy in black leather. I am not a big fan of Miss Stone, and I usually find her fashion editorials quite cold, but here she is giving an infectious smile to the cameras and I love it!

27 Şubat 2012 Pazartesi

Soft as Velvet: Sheared Mink

I have been thinking of talking about the modern and trendy furs of Gauja Furs from Lithuania for a long time. Actually, I am not a big fan of the showy (gaudy even!) fur style of Eastern European and Russian women, yet Gauja's designs are not short of the most avantgarde Italian fur styles at all! The jacket above for example, is both very trendy and very chic. In this post, I would like to present a number of examples from Gauja where fox and mink furs are mixed in innovative ways.

Fox is a longer hair fur and it's quite puffy, while mink is shorter hair. Still, in the example above, the mink section has been turned into something that is as soft and densely textured as velvet. Normally, mink fur has two types of hair or fur in it. There is the longer an coarser "guard fur", which, as its name implies, provides some protection, and then there is a shorter, denser "underfur". In the example above, the guard fur of the black mink was removed in what is called as "plucking" (literally plucking away the long guard fur!) and then the remainder is a fur that is very soft. A similar technique is called "shearing" and the resulting fur is called "sheared" (as in "sheared mink" or "sheared beaver"), which is similarly soft and dense.

In contrast with the uniform look of the plucked mink part, the shoulders are covered with dramatic contrasts of the silver fox. Furthermore, the monochrome palette of black mink draws all the attention to the stark contrasts of silver fox from white to steely gray and black.

Another fine fur taking great advantage of the contrast between the short haired mink and long haired fox. The red fox in the collar surely looks very fluffy and voluminous, but it is greatly aided in this endeavor by the fact that the mink fur making up the body of the coat has been plucked off its guard fur. In the meantime, the photograph is so sharply focused that the viewer is lost in the deep green of the model's eyes:)

Just like the previous two, this model consists of a body in sheared/plucked mink and polar fox as collar and hood trim. Polar fox is normally white but here the coat is uniformly dyed to the same color. The collar and the hood trim nicely frames the model's face, right!

If you are somewhat familiar with leather fashions with fur trim that primarily target the Russian audience, you must have seen lots of leather jackets and coats whose hems, cuffs and edges are trimmed in fur. The picture above has a tendency to slide in that direction, but this time the body of the coat is not leather but mink. This  mink is called blue iris and it blends perfectly with the silver fox trim of both the collar and cuffs. From the makeup of the model to her earrings and to the turtleneck sweater she is wearing, this is a fantastic combination and the resulting image is simply breathtaking.

The fur accessories of Gauja are great, too. Hopefully I will talk about them in another blog post soon.

24 Şubat 2012 Cuma

Miroslava Duma's Sable Fur

I have realized that I did not give any space to Miroslava Duma in this blog, while Mira, as she is affectionately known by her friends, is a cute girl just like Olivia Palermo to jump from high society into the fashion world!

Miroslava Duma is usually introduced in the fashion blogs as the assistant editor of Harper's Bazaar Russia, yet, her salary from the magazine would not even cover her famed Hermes handbag collection, not to mention the fact that she is well known for her extensive Louis Vuitton scarf collection as well. It is not surprising then that her wardrobe is the envy of many. Under such conditions, one would expect the young fashionista in question to rely on a strong "sponsor" and thus, we learn that Mira's dear daddy is an important Russian politician and by extension, one of the major oligarchs of Russia. We see the father-daughter Dumas above. Indeed, her father looks like he was the right-hand man of Yeltsin!

Anyhow, after this much gossip, let us now turn to our furs, sorry I meant our topic, which is Mira's furs:) Well, there are so many rich people in the world, yet most can never attain elegance, while Mira makes whatever she is wearing fit her in an incredibly stylish way, regardless of the brand name. And this is all that matters, right?! Above, for example, we see Miroslava Duma in a classic "street style" pose, one that has probably been the subject of 29 thousand 876 blog posts! If I recall correctly, it was during a Paris Fashion Week. God knows how many women have left "I adore her outfit! xoxo" "I need to buy her shoes, please help me ID!" type of comments on these posts...

Yes, where was I, right, let us return to our subject while Mira is taking a point-and-shoot pic of all of us with a naughty expression on her face. Miroslava Duma is a Russian beauty, and since Russia is known for its cold winters, it should not surprise us that Mira wears furs. Lots of furs. How ever, the fur that she is wearing in the above shots are not an ordinary fur. It is sable, considered to be the most precious fur in the world. And not just sable, it is Russian sable, that is, the finest sable.

Russian sable was so precious that during the days of the Tsars, only the royal family could wear it. All others were forbidden from sable. And out of Russia, sable was the fur of choice for kings, queens, emperors and the sultans. For example, history books record that in the 17th century, the Ottoman sultan Ibrahim, known as the "Crazy", paid extraordinary amounts of money to the Tsar of Moscow to purchase sable. When the monarchy was destroyed in Russia and everybody was equalized in "comradeship", a special company was formed to handle the Russian sable business. Known as Sojuzpushnina, it continued selling this precious fur to the capitalist West, even during the height of the Cold War. Which, being a "cold" war, must have meant the Westerners needed sable even more than usual:)

All these shots are from the same series. I guess it is February 2009, must have been taken during the New York Fashion Week. Well, the last shot reveals the location as the Central Park in Manhattan, surrounded by familiar skyscrapers...

From a distance, Mira's fur looks like a "normal" fur in dark brown colour. I said "normal" and I suppose for many it means mink. One needs to be a bit more knowledgeable to appreciate the difference between sable and mink. If you are one of those lusting after the Hermes handbag collection of Miroslava, trying to calculate its worth and getting your head dizzy while doing so, let me just tell you that this fur's price tag is in six figures, and that must be enough for you!

What a cute pose she is giving, right?! Actually, I can say that sable is a close relative of marten, which you may have come across more easily (since it is more affordable). Sable comes in two distinct types. One is the Russian sable, as you see on Mira, in very dark brown-chestnut color. The other is Canadian or golden sable, which is lighter in colour, in a golden yellow. What makes Russian sable invaluable is its incredible softness and "dense" touch. Moreover it has a very rich color palette, browns, chestnut, mocha, etc. The most valuable Russian sable is known as Barguzin sable.

It apparently takes someone like Miroslava Duma to throw a 100 thousand dollar fur carelessly onto a snow truck or tugging it under arm as if it is a garment purchased from HM!

I strongly suspect that Miroslava Duma is showing off her handbag to the camera! By the way, I don't know if you have noticed, but she is wearing sable again, but it is not the same sable as in the previous pictures:) If you don't believe me, have a look at the next shot.

Mira posing with her mum. Mummy and her little daughter, dressed to the nines in precious furs and crocodile handbags, I don't know how to describe their style! Anyways, let's just focus on Mira's fur. In the NYC shots above, her sable was falling all the way below her knees, and its collar was quite big, but this coat is shorter and it is more like a stroller.

I think her hoodie sweater in this shot with a cute penguin figure on is Chanel. Recently, we have been seeing lots of these 3/4 or half length sleeves in fur fashion. This way a more "trendy" or "youthful" fur design is obtained...

Three friends posing here. Of Mira's friends, the blondie on the left is wearing a "blue iris" mink, but the most precious fur is worn by her other friend, the one on the right. It is definitely Barguzin sable. I don't know if you have noticed, but I have been trying to count how many furs Mira has in her wardrobe. Up until now, I think we have seen at least two different pieces, but this last one might well be a third one...

One distinguishing quality of Mira is that she likes to use and reuse a garment she loves after two-three seasons. This way she reminds me of Olivia Palermo again. Nevertheless, I think the wealth of Mira's father easily doubles or triples that of Olivia's dad, but that's another story:)

Mira's cute knit hat is the same hat as we saw in the very first pic in this post, but her fur is different. When we are talking Miroslava Duma, there is no shortcut for a cheapie route, hence this is again a Russian sable, but it's a different Russian sable, that's what I was trying to say!

I would like to direct your attention to the horizontally worked pieces in this coat. Lately, these horizontally worked designs are quite popular, not only for sable but for minks as well.

In this picture, we appreciate better the horizontally worked sable coat Mira is wearing. This is a reversible garment. Just like UGG boots, the same pelt's one side is fur and the other is leather. There is no lining here. Please pay attention to how the individual fur hairs are sticking out of stiches of the horizontal bands on the coat's sleeve. Normally, the lining in a fur coat serves to cover the rough aspects of the workmanship, the not so perfect stiches etc, but here everything is out in plain sight. There is no room for error. And that requires immaculate craftsmanship.

I also would like to note that in the last two photos, the lighting conditions cause the fur to appear different. The one immediately above is taken during night with flash on, so the fur appears lighter, whereas the one before that is taken during the day without flash, hence the fur has hues going even towards brownish green.

I am ending our tour of Miroslava's sable furs with this picture from a Range Rover Evoque launch event. I have counted at least three, maybe four different sables, but the numbers are not that important-they all look gorgeous on Miroslava Duma!

Hopefully, we will have a peek at her other furs in a different blog post...