Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Fur Coat

For Allegra....because she stirred the visions and meandering thoughts several days ago....


We walked into I. Magnin's San Francisco past the perfume department to the rear where the elevators were.  A door opened, a gentlemen held the door saying "Going up" and we walked inside.  

"What floor ladies?" as he turned to those of us in the elevator.  Up the elevator went and at every floor as the elevator stopped he would say what was on that floor.  

We disembarked on the floor we wanted and I followed close on my mom's heels to where she led me.  We were greeted warmly by a nicely dressed woman.  My mother explained that she had been to a charity event and had bid on and won a fur jacket.  Yes, we were in the fur salon.  This was long before PETA began it's vocal anger towards those who bought furs and those who flaunted them when they wore them.  This was when a mink coat meant something, especially a full length one.

We waited in the large open area that was the fur salon.  There were white chairs and settee's to sit upon and an oval white coffee table with high end magazines on display.  Oversize windows looked out to Union Square.  There were short racks for items to be hung on but they were empty.

Another lady came out a side door greeting my mother.  The lady asked a few questions and made some small talk with us and then went back through the door.

The intent was that I was to be given the won fur jacket.  My mom did not know what it looked like but she thought it was youthful looking and would not be her style, hence the reason I was with her.  The last place I imagined myself was in a fur salon.  I always felt furs were for old women, wealthy older women like my mom, not someone barely in her 20's.  Still I found it intriguing enough to go along.

When the lady came out she held out towards us on a padded hanger a shaggy sheep jacket.  It was hideous.  My mom took one look at it and was quick to ask if it was possible to choose a different jacket.  The lady was restrained enough to not even give us a look that might have shown offense.  She was cool and polite.  She left us once again to speak to someone.  My mom and I talked amongst ourselves about the jacket that she left out on the rack for us to look at.  I would never wear this and felt like we should just give it to someone else.  No, my mom was not leaving till I had a respectable fur jacket.  

This time the lady came out and said that we could put this jacket towards another one.  Fine.  With that we were asked to sit down and she would bring out some items for us to view.  

I had no idea what I was in for.

The variety of fur coats came out and put on the rack.  I was asked to stand up and try them on.  I should say that I was asked to stand and they were put on me.  I have never had such a sensation as trying on fur.  At once it feels decadent but the lightness of them surprised me.  I had assumed they would be heavy.  The silky satin lining slipped on my arms and shoulders easily followed by the brushing of fur near my checks and on my neck.  Within seconds the warmth and unbelievable comfort of this upon my body made me reluctant to want to take it off.   I can't remember how many I tried on, maybe four but the one I choose in the end was a white fox dyed to look like a lynx jacket.  It was short, fun and I felt incredible in it.  I felt like a different person in it, not the girl I was before I came to this salon.

They said we could pick it up in less than a week after my initials were sewn inside.  Once I had this jacket I tried to wear it but where do I wear it?  I lived in a modest town with lower to middle class blue collar folks.  If any of the women in this town had a fur coat it was old and buried in the depths of their closet with moth balls.  When my Love and I went out I tried to wear it but even then I felt extremely out of place.  I wore it when we went to visit the parents until finally I just didn't wear it.  It was clearly not me.  

We have moved countless times and it is pushed to the back of the hall closet in it's protective cover.  What can I do with it?  I wouldn't get caught dead in it after I learned more about and understood the murder of poor little animals to make a fur coat.  No I couldn't wear it.  I thought of giving it to the Salvation army or to a homeless person in need of warmth but how would they be treated wearing fur?  Would a PETA representative harass them for possessing such a coat?  No, I couldn't do that to someone else.  And so it hangs in the dark with other wool coats I no longer wear that came from I. Magnin's before they went out of business.  

I am not a fur coat woman.  


Sara Louise said...

I think you should hang on to it for as long as possible. Fur coats like that are become more and more like relics from our past.
Maybe a daughter or granddaughter would like to wear it for a winter wedding? I wore my grandmother's mink cape (initials sewn inside) and was very pleased to do so.
Even though I would never buy a fur now, because like you said, my grandmother's fur is from a time before people were aware of the cruelty and because of that, I don't mind having it, or wearing it. It's part of our history xo

Ellen said...

Sara Louise...No I won't get rid of it because who knows that someone won't want to borrow it or need it for some reason or other. It will stay covered in the closet awaiting a time to be worn.


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