Frivolous frills Feathers, furs and fringe for fall


Feathers, fur and fringe are having a fling in fashion this fall.

Designers are using all three most often one at a time to trim, decorate, accompany or otherwise enhance the season's new crop of clothes.

Feathers used are often the exuberant ones: long, curly ostrich feathers that ripple with every movement; dramatic black coq feathers that show off their iridescent green highlights as they tremble around necklines or hemlines; or the softest of all feathers, lush marabou that's so closely related to down.

Fringe appears in a variety of forms: strings of shimmery beads on evening dresses; wide strips of suede on Western-influenced jackets; even chains, taking their inspiration from Chanel, or very much in tune with all the rapper-inspired jewelry.

Faux fur comes in small doses as collars and cuffs on sweaters, dresses or coats or as borders of gloves. In a bigger way, fake furs are popular again this season as more women turn to warm cloth coats be they in natural or synthetic fabrics.

But for those who favor the real thing, designers have taken to trimming coats and suits with mink, sable and other luxury furs with great gusto. Such accents are especially in favor with Europeans, including Gianfranco Ferre, who loves using fur in his own collection as well as the one he designs for Dior; Parisian Jean-Paul Gaultier has taken a fancy to monkey fur, white as well as black, along with curly Mongolian lamb, most likely in red, for the collars of his jackets and coats.

A strong reason behind the use of fringe, feathers and fur trims at this particular time is that they add an element of fun. In a season that shows no radical silhouette changes, that continues already existing color and length statements, that often favors the pragmatic and sensible rather than the innovative or avant garde, there is a need for some flair, some spirit, something different. A bit of fringe, a few feathers, a leopard-spotted something can add that something.

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