Animal Friendly Fashion - Why Oprah Doesn't Wear Fur
O's fall fashion shoot gets a little wild.
By Susan Casey
O, The Oprah Magazine | From the October 2011 issue of O, The Oprah Magazine
Each season O's fashion department, led by creative director Adam Glassman, takes the rest of the editorial staff on a guided tour of the trends that are about to hit the stores, the streets, and eventually (designers hope) your closet. This fall, for instance, we were told to expect an onslaught of teal. We would also see capes, trenchcoats, stiletto heels, tuxedo jackets, pleated skirts, structured handbags, lace motifs, feather trim, and fur—much fur.
Though at O we strive to be stylish—and know our readers do, too—we encourage every woman to create her own definition of what that means. If you love your floral-patterned clogs (hello, Gayle King!), then they are a welcome part of your look, regardless of whether they're "in fashion." By the same token, wanting everything you wear to be au courant is wonderful as well. But all trends will never work for all people. And there's one that O has decided to skip, not just this season but in every issue since the magazine began: garments made of real fur.
Of course, to wear—or not to wear—fur is a personal choice. For some women the stance is crystal clear; for others it's an evolution. "In the beginning, my thing was 'Have you seen Chicago winters? You need a fur coat in Chicago!'" Oprah told me. "But I had an aha moment looking at a sable cape in my closet." The cape's thick pelt gave her a visceral sense of how many four-leggeds had been used in its creation, bred specifically to be killed: "And that was it. I gave away all my furs 20 years ago."
That is not to say you won't find exotic animal skins and feathers in O's October issue; it's just that they're still attached to the living creatures that grew them. For a glimpse of how gorgeous that look can be, check out our annual roundup of stellar winter coats, modeled this year by Elaine Irwin—and Obie, Flash, Peaches, Legs, Ollie, and Woodstock (a Bengal tiger cub, Hamburg rooster, Vietnamese pot-bellied pig, albino python, Andalusian horse, and Ural owl, respectively). Adam and his team are also enthusiastic about the newest faux furs, which no longer resemble the Muppety bath mats of yore, cost far less, and are, in many cases, every bit as silky as the real thing. In fact, this month O's fur-free fashion team went one step further: "There aren't even any leather bags in this feature," Adam reports.
Too extreme—or extremely cool? That's your call. (After playing with these beautiful animals all day, we vote the latter.) Please share your insights with us in the comments below.