It’s Not Your Mother’s Fur: Part 2

Before & After
Photos: Marilyn Kirschner & Ernest Schmatolla

At the end of “It’s Not Your Mother’s Fur: Part 1” we introduced Jacqueline LeDonne von Unwerth, the New York-based literary agent turned designer who was given her mother’s 1980s Michael Forrest ranch mink coat upon her death in 2006. We said we would illustrate how Anne Dee Goldin transformed a relic of the past into something contemporary and modern.

The coat remained in Jacqueline’s closet, and each year she thought about having it taken in. Jacqueline admits that she had always shied away from wearing fur, being of a liberal bent, and not wanting to telegraph conspicuous consumption of luxury items. But she decided, for sentimental reasons as well as practicality, that it was more green to upcycle her mom’s coat and create her own work of art to end this wasteful cycle.

This winter, Jacqueline thought it was time to think of the coat as fabric and have it redesigned in her signature style. The fur itself was in excellent condition, but it was pure 80’s: oversized, shapeless, and bulky. Jacqueline wanted an “everything coat” that could be worn as easily with jeans as with an evening dress. And she wanted the coat to have a large collar, a flared skirt, short slightly flared sleeves, a slit in the back, and leather inserts at the waist and on the sides.

In reviewing her options, Jacqueline discovered Anne Dee Goldin of GoldinStyle/ADG Inc. Ms. Goldin is an innovative third-generation furrier who takes a couture approach to upcycling, repurposing, and restyling fur. According to Ms. Goldin, the first step in restyling a client’s fur coat is to meet with the client. It is vital to look and listen to learn about the history of the fur (often sentimental), the client’s lifestyle, her needs, and her style.

The sketch by Stefano Chaiavaroli

“What was so unique in Jacqueline’s case was that she wanted to take her mother’s 1980’s ranch mink coat and remake it into a modern trench coat inspired by early 1970’s fashion. It was a great project!” said Goldin.

The original muslin

At the first meeting, Jacqueline met with Anne Dee Goldin, Georgia Ilipoulous, Head of Production at GoldinStyle, and Stefano Chaiavaroli, a freelance fur designer and pattern maker. She recalls that Anne Dee held up the voluminous coat sideways, wrapped it around her body like fabric on a bolt, and “magical reincarnations” of her mother’s coat occurred. Stefano drew a sketch and a pattern for the muslin. The muslin represents the general concept (the broad strokes) of the style and fit.

Trying on the muslin
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

At the first fitting, Anne Dee and her team honed in on the specific style details, and they made all the necessary fit corrections. They added to the sweep of the ‘skirt’, adjusted the shape and angles of the lapels, determined the precise width and placement of the leather insets, and added a back vent for more kick. Also, the armhole raised, the sleeves narrowed, and they added a little to the overlap. Then marked and pinned the muslin to reflect all the required changes.

Anne Dee, Stefano, and Jacqueline
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

To restyle a client’s fur, Anne Dee typically requires one muslin fitting followed by a fur fitting. In this case, two were necessary. At the second muslin fitting, a few minor tweaks were made. The team decided to add an optional leather sash for Jacqueline to wear as a belt. All that was left to do was to correct the pattern and put it into work.

The fur fitting
Photo: Marilyn Kirschner

The next and last phrase was the fur fitting. After the lining was sewn in and a few hooks and rings added, the coat was done. Jacqueline was thrilled with the results of this remarkable transformation.

Taking “Winston” for a walk.
Photo: Ernest Schmatolla

On a recent chilly morning, Jacqueline wore the coat to walk her dog in Carl Schurz Park. It is never too early or too late to start thinking about having your fur upcycled and restyled. For more information, contact Anne Dee Goldin: adg@goldin44.com; 917 282 6626.

Marilyn Kirschner
Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

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