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The 2003-2004 season

On the threshold of the 2003-2004 season the leading international fashion scenes showed that furs were shyly, and in some places more confidently, taking over the catwalks and consolidating their position in the great fashion designers" collections.

Designers have already realized that fur isn"t just a luxuriant addition to garments, but can be a gorgeous garment in itself. Collections from such designers as Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Louis Vuitton, Karl Lagerfeld and others have proclaimed fur to be a full member of the world of fashion scene.

Designers" courtly mood has been embodied in glamorous collections of womenswear: ruches, frills, mini-skirts, stays, laces and an astonishing abundance of pink and all tones of this colour from ash-pink to crimson, from China rose to pink orchid.

However, the palette of the up-coming season hasn"t limited itself to pink. Black, mat gold, silver metallic, pistachio, khaki, the scale of grey tones, and dark-brown are the trendsetters" favourite coloures for the Autumn/Winter 2003/2004 season.

The usually restrained fashion of the cold period has been represented in all of its variety of styles and trends, full of chic touches, luxury and the theatrical, but at the same time in no way loud, having a certain nobility and elegant delicacy.

Both the shaggy furs of "wild" fox, Polar fox and coyote as well as the more composed, tidy furs of mink and fisher (a kind of marten) suit such a mood. The colours are mostly natural; the forms are close to the classical ones, and all of this contains elements of frivolity and courtesy.

The catwalks of Berlin and Milan have reminded us that fur is still a young participant in designers" collections. Fur-hoods, collars, fur-trimmed sleeves and hems, scarves and tippers are all that designers have been generous enough to create, apart from classical fur-coats.

At Paris fashion week this material was in favor among the fashion designers. Besides the light fur scarf, which complimented the cashmere parka in Ralph Rucci"s collection, we can also see a tiny stylish fur coat and a tribute to retro - a simple, and at the same time, elegant coat, imitating tiger fur.

Karl Lagerfeld brought joy to fur-lovers with sable furs and gorgeous chinchilla mantles and surprised with a skirt from knitted mink.

Ungaro and Gautier kind of involve us in their dialogue, having something in common and bringing forward parkas with hoods from rabbit fur.

But it is New York which is rightfully considered to be the top fur-fashion trend-setter for the forthcoming season. Fur is skillfully woven by designers in their collections, which are subjected to the trends of 60s. Jackets and coats from pearl mink with zip-fasteners and press-studs and tiny fur-coats from brown mink with leather sleeves by Julian MacDonald, gorgeous short fur-coats from blue and rose arctic fox by Michael Kors and Celine, jackets from mink sections by Mark Jacobs - the 60s are not going to stop inspiring the artists.

Enormous fur coats from pistachio and lilac colored arctic fox were presented by John Galiano in his collection for Dior House. Long-haired fur, as we can see, is in demand now, that is why Sonia Riciel hasn"t betrayed her tradition, having offered coats from toned silver fox. Tom Ford used coloured silver fox fur for sleeves and collars in Gucci"s collection. The Marin fashion house used fox of different natural tints in its collection.

The collection of The Prada fashion house seems to contradict all the tendencies relying on short-haired blue mink. However, this conforms to the idea of eclecticism, as the main trend of the last few seasons - the blending of styles, the mixture of different epochs, the combination of incongruous elements, and on the whole - exceeding the limits of traditional conceptions and views.

Confidence, courage, and the opportunity to experiment at the same time with the elegance and the feminity of the glamorous moods of the forthcoming autumn and fur which with dignity and style has proved to the whole world that it has a future.

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