The Library

For the benefit of the reader more generally interested in fur, fake fur and feather fashion - which probably excludes those of us who stuff their messages to the world with exclamation marks, capitals, and references to 'neckid wimmin' and a person called 'U' - I have compiled a small bibliography. I own most of the works mentioned but general availability was not a condition for inclusion.
For the benefit of all us, if you know any works which should be included here but haven't, in any language, please let me know, for the benefit of all of us. This list is nowhere near complete.


  • Robert Delort, L' Histoire de la Fourrure - de l'Antiquité à nos jours, EDITA s.a., Lausanne, Switzerland 1986. 237 p., >A4, hardcover. ISBN 2-88001-193-0.
    A must-have in my humble opinion. As the title says, a comprehensive fur history, with attention for trade, hunting and a closing section about Dior designer Frédéric Castet. Lavishly illustrated, partly in colour, with old painting, comparatively recent pictures and drawings.
    Availability: I picked up my copy as a sales leftover for the equivalent of $ 12.50, but I consider myself extremely lucky in this case. You might find it for four times that price - but have a look before you actually buy it for that kind of price! The address of the publisher mentioned in the book is 10 Rue du Valentin, 1000 Lausanne 17, Switzerland, but it might be an old one.
  • Julia V. Emberley, Venus and Furs - The Cultural Politics of Fur, I.B. Taurus Publishers, London/New York 1998. 249 p., A5, paperback. ISBN 1-86064-227-6.
    A rather academic, high brow but interesting work about the cultural history and fur, anti-fur, feminist and ethnic (Inuit) issues. Fortunately, the author doesn't let any fashionable views get in the way of scientific judgment. Some attention for the surprising antagonism between feminist and animal right activists - many olders posters by the latter could easily be called sexist and blatantly ethno-centric. There are black and white pictures in it, but the price of the book is too high to buy it just for the sake of those.
    Availability: through Amazon. I picked up my copy at Harrods London, for 11.95 UK Pound.
  • J.H. de Vries, Bont allerlei - Een populair standaardwerkje over bont, Pelterijenhuis L.W. Vopel, Groningen, The Netherlands, n.y. [probably 1960s]. 112 p., pocketbook.
    In Dutch. An entry level factbook about fur, targeted at the fur buyer. Interestingly, when going through the obligatory "So far there has been no ..." in the introduction, it mentions the existance of English and German reference works for the trade. Quote: "There are works like a lexicon in 21 parts!" The mind boggles. Of course some of the information is outdated by now, but for a few guilders it's a nice browse. The book is illustrated in black and white, but the pictures are far from spectactular.
    Availability: difficult if not impossible. Furrier Vopel is no longer in business.


  • Anna Municchi, Ladies in Furs, 1900-1940, Zanfi Editori 1992. 159 p., >A4, hardcover. ISBN 0-89676-206-8.
    Written by someone who genuinely loves and knows what she is talking about, and containing some interesting or amusing observations and asides. About Marlene Dietrich: "... who wore the first red fox in recorded fur history (1932)..." The book actually starts in the 1880s, the era of the bustle dress, and not too long after the start of fur business as we know it today (Revillon). Abundantly illustrated, although I would have preferred some more photos and less fashion drawings. Clearly, the author has the ability to 'read' fashion drawings, which allows her to rave about 'a fabulous sable coat' in the caption of what in my perception is just a fairly expressionistic bit of lines. Which is not to say I don't like the artwork in the book.
    Availability: through Amazon. $ 29.95.
  • Anna Municchi, Ladies in Furs, 1940-1980, Zanfi Editori, 1993, 143 p., >A4, hardcover. ISBN 0-89676-207-6.
    The follow-up of the previous title. In this book It was less easy to keep my attention with the text, but this might have something to do with the wonderful pictures. From the wartime austerity through the Mink Age to the Wacky 70s. If this book would have been twice as large, I would have loved it no less, and perhaps even more. I hope Ms Municchi is still around to write a Ladies in Furs 1980-2000, for the 1980s are not covered in this volume.
    Availability: through Amazon.


An interesting source of information are books about artists and other celebrities who had or have a lot of fur and feather in their wardrobe. Obviously it would be impossible to expect any semblance of comprehensiveness in this field.

  • M a r l e n e D i e t r i c h. Books, and picturebooks, about her are in fact hard to avoid, if you'd want to. She is truly one of the icons of the 20th century. She wore countless items of fur and feathers on and off the screen, and as she was very much involved in the costumes of her movies, her ever so often appearance in fur or feathers has nothing to do with any outside pressure at all.
    - Best read about her is the biography by her daughter, Maria Riva. Both for sheer Gründlichkeit and lack of mercy, she may seem utterly Prussian - and like her mother - until you realise it's The Legend she's crushing, not the person. Also contain a lot of picture material not published elsewhere
    - In the range of bargain price picture book I prefer Thierry de Navacelle's Marlene Dietrich - Photographien aus der Sammlung John Kobal, Taco, Berlin 1987. It has some colour illustrations. Even better and more comprehensive, although let down by printing quality, is the Citadel book about Marlene Dietrich (see below).
  • C i t a d e l P r e s s. This New York publishing house released a number of hardcover books about mostly vintage movies and moviestars. It is my staunch conviction that the illustration editor is One of Us, considering the disproportionate presence of fur and feather pictures in many of the books (and depending of course on the quantity of fur and feather worn by the actress in question). E.g., look for the volumes about Marlene Dietrich, Mae West, Ginger Rogers, Shirley Maclaine, Gloria Swanson, Jeannette MacDonald, Barbara Stanwyck.
    Currently, I have no information about their availability; I acquired mine in a second-hand bookshop in the Netherlands.

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