One of the things I have been looking forward to the most this month has finally gone down-- SEASON SIX RUPAUL'S DRAG RACE, PRAISE THE LORD, is underway, and the kicker of the season premiere has the fourteen initial queens competing split into two groups of seven. Last week, we met group one-- this week, group two appeared in all its glory. While overall, I think I like the first batch of performers better, the second set featured Trinity K. Bonet showing up in THIS ensemble, and I about died. Not into the rhinestones across the face, not into the necklace...but the CLOTHES gave me a moment of pause. Take a look:
While I know Trinity's going for more En Vogue than pre-Weimar Germany, I am LIVING for this 1930's cabaret looking black sequin skirt, black satin bustier, and MONKEY. FUR. COAT. Possibly gorilla? Possibly goat? In any case, the shiny, long haired, black fur coat she's wearing is actually killing me with how much I want one. I don't know what is about these fur coats that seem to combine Morticia Addams, Keith Richards, and Dietrich all in one convenient, probably moth-eaten package. These outré trimmed pieces were popular in the twenties', but initially gained major fashion exposure a few years later when Elsa Schiaparelli (hallowed be thy name) used them in a 1938 collection. That line included this coat:
And a whole suite of monkey fur trimmed accessories, including those famous boots:
Le sigh. Aren't they gorgeous? AREN'T THEY CRAZY. I love all of it, but I love the weird, iconic feeling of the coats most of all. This one sighting on Drag Race opened up a well of sartorial longing I'd almost forgotten I harbored for this item. A monkey fur coat is one of the holy grails of vintage that I may or may not ever get my hands on. And ain't that a hard truth to swallow! Reasons? Number one, the price. Ish is expensive, you all. Get over the fact that you are wanting to make a joke about The Ring, and understand that my love for this garment is real. THEN, watch me cry a little salt tear as I am unable to purchase said garment. Because, jeez louise, THE PRICES:
|$700 (20% Off) MONKEY FUR BOLERO JACKET|
I took to Ebay and Etsy, and even Pinterest to see what kinds of items came up when you type in any of the descriptors I listed above. While online is never a very reasonable barometer for how much money something should cost in real life (see: the price of almost anything collectible at an estate sale versus on Etsy), where else have I ever seen one of these coats? There was a capelet at the Goodletsville Antique Mall trimmed (not made of, mind you, it was 25% fur, 75% tattered black velvet) in black monkey fur, but it had lived a long and hard life since its creation in the twenties', and was two hundred dollars. I thought, "I'll just look online and see what kinds of things there are in various far flung corners of the United States. Who knows! I might be able to find some opera cape looking thing for a hundred bucks for all I know!" Um, turns out no. Bubble....burst. But do look at these awesome things I would buy with Kate Moss's checkbook, were I, in fact, Kate Moss:
|Vintage Gold Coast Monkey Fur Coat & Muff circa 1940's|
|Deadstock 1930s Monkey Fur Coat with Capelet + Bakelite Clasp|
Some people may be icked out by the fact that it's fur at all-- while I'm as animal rights as the next person (reading Skinny Bitch actually turned me vegan), I really don't see the harm in wearing a vintage fur that's older than my parents. I know! Not everyone agrees! My thinking: if I was J-Lo, and my wearing even a vintage fur stole to the Grammys would spur Gucci designers to commit a bonobo genocide in response to the demand for such an item, that would be one thing; but does me wearing some long, long, long gone mink or chinchilla from less enlightened times bother anything except my mom's sense of good taste ("What! Is! That! Thing!?" is a more frequent response to something I'm wearing than "How chic!", haha). This post talks about the legality of intrastate, endangered animal pelt trade, and how only Montana residents can buy that out of control looking, Art Deco, EXTREMELY gorgeous monkey fur vest-and-jacket combination (lucky Montanians) mentioned in the article. I feel a little bit like Indiana Jones at this point in my internet research-- what?! For a monkey that's been dead since the days of Valentino, there are laws governing the sale of its pelt? I guess these same kinds of things apply when it's a 3,000 year old Colombian artifact, but for a eighty-plus year old colombus monkey? I guess....ok. Maybe, when I win the lottery, I should consider whether or not the feds are gonna take me down on crimes against nature, rather than crimes against fashion. However! Oh, the dark, dark drama of these coats! None of these keeps me from wanting one near as much as the price does.
Diane Pernet, a fashion editor and writer based in Paris, got in trouble with PETA recently for this (undeniably amazing, but no, not particularly inoffensive to animal rights' activists) gorilla fur coat she wore to Paris fashion week. Again, if it's eighty years old, is it necessarily terrible to wear this?
So! Let's talk brass tacks. Where do you think Trinity got her coat? Has she skillfully fashioned it from human hair (which was a thought that crossed my mind when I saw Zoe from Girl with the Flower's hair purse...have we talked about this before)? How/where do I get an inexpensive, ethical-to-animals knockoff? I need to know! The only similar things on ebay under "faux monkey fur" were shipped from China, and after having a terrible experience with trying to buy a knock off handbag...well, I am once bitten twice shy. (Sidenote: said bag featured a handle that looked like a knuckleduster and an embellishment of a wicked looking skull in the listing pictures; when it arrived a month later, same so-called handle fell off, and skull looked like someone had skinned Krusty the Clown. I think I have learned my lesson not to trust the photos on some overseas buy-it-now-auctions, especially when ebay shopping under the influence of tequila) So what do I do! I'd love to hear your thoughts on how horrible/wonderful these coats are, and where I can buy a reasonable facsimile in the United States for under $100. Possible? Maybe?
That's all for today, I'm gonna go nurse this cold I'm fighting off with Emergen-c and keep scrolling through Ebay (in case dreams do come true). Have a great Tuesday, and I'll talk to you tomorrow. Til then!