|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.
Delort, L' Histoire de la Fourrure - de l'Antiquité
à nos jours, EDITA s.a., Lausanne,
Switzerland 1986. 237 p., >A4, hardcover. ISBN
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
V. Emberley, Venus and Furs - The
Cultural Politics of Fur, I.B. Taurus Publishers,
London/New York 1998. 249 p., A5, paperback. ISBN
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.
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.
Municchi, Ladies in Furs, 1900-1940,
Zanfi Editori 1992. 159 p., >A4, hardcover.
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.
Municchi, Ladies in Furs, 1940-1980,
Zanfi Editori, 1993, 143 p., >A4, hardcover.
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.
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.
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
- 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).
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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