Posts tagged ‘dyed fox’

2011/09/25

Furs on Film – What a Way to Go!

Back this week to fill in a bit more of that rather great-fur anemic decade, the 1960s. The 60’s still have the charm of not being the 90s, at least. This one is able to row against the prevailing fashion tide mostly thanks to the liberal use of fantasy sequence and parody of Hollywood “excess.”

What a Way to Go – The Film

In her current life, Shirley MacLaine stars as Louisa May Foster, a very rich, very unhappy woman who finds herself on a psychiatrist’s couch, retelling the various stories of how she tried to marry for love, not money. In each case, her poor, loveable husband of choice ends up striking it rich, neglecting her, and then dying, leaving her increasingly well off, but still unhappy. The film is an anthology of sorts, with Lousia’s time on the couch the framing device. As surprises no one, the process starts to repeat itself just before the credits roll.

What a Way to Go – The Furs

Shirley wears pretty much all the furs in the film. Part of the charm of the film is the framing sequences at the psychiatrist’s office all feature Miss MacLaine wearing a mink hat. The remainder all occur in the flashbacks to her various relationships, culminating in one of the best uses of dyed fox in film history.

Here’s the mink hat in question. Granted, if you’re not impressed, you’re going to be bored pretty quickly, since she never takes it off the entire time she’s “in therapy.”

Due to the length of time it appears, there are many nice close ups of Miss MacLaine capped by the mink. As should be a surprise to no regular reader, I’m not a mink fan, but I do like the hat. Sure, it should be fox, but, well, split milk and all.

More mink from Husband One’s story. This conservative mink fringe is hooded, at least.

After suffering through Husband Two with nary a fur in sight, things pick up with Husband Three. Already rich, Lousia meets Rod Anderson, equally if not more wealthy, at the airport. She’s wearing a fox hat and this fox fur trimmed coat.

This is a long sequence, as Lousia goes aboard Rod’s private jet and chats all while keeping the furs firmly in place. Sadly unlike many of the furs in the film, this is fairly conservative fox by any standards.

She flips that around in the film’s fantasy sequence, as Louisa imagines life with Rod and their money combined. In the sequence she wears a series of outfits by Edith Head, intentionally “over the top.” The first is more feathery than fur, obviously.

Things pick up a bit when the white mink trimmed outfit with the rather large muff appears.

While again, mink isn’t particularly my favorite, this is certainly of one my favorite minks.

Finally there’s the first of two dyed foxes in the film. Would have picked something other than yellow, myself (like the color of the film’s second dyed fox), but still, not too bad overall.

Each element of the fantasy sequence is fairly brief, so individual elements do not get a lot of mileage, but a whole thing is about a minute and some change.

Finally, Husband Four’s story provides the marquee fur. Lousia meets and marries Pinky Benson, a stage performer who, after they’re married, becomes an overnight Hollywood success. Pinky “embraces” his name, surrounding himself with his namesake color, and that includes Louisa’s wardrobe.

The dyed pink fox fur cape is spectacular. It’s supposed to be, and the dyed hair to match is, well, “the cherry on top” is, yes, very, very cliché, but I’m going there.

Even get a quick bonus of double fox in this part of the scene. That lynx-dyed fox isn’t exactly well shot, though.

Finally one close up of Miss MacLaine in her pink wig and huge pink fox. While the point of this was to lampoon Hollywood excess (and is the only reason it even appeared in a film shot in 1964), I would suggest to any lovely lady they can consider a cape like this for the average trip to the grocery store or cinema. Just think about it, that’s all I’m saying.

The full fur runtime of What a Way to Go! clocks in around 23 minutes. Now, all of that isn’t the large pink fox cape, sadly. Miss MacLaine wears her mink hat through pretty much all of the framing story, and while I don’t want to say that “pads” the runtime a bit, others may not be so kind. The fox hat and trim from the third story consumes the other big chunk. The best parts, her fantasy sequence and the pink fox are about four minutes combined. Still, for the 60’s, this is an amazing little gem.

Fur Runtime: 23 minutes
Film Runtime: 111 minutes
Onscreen Fur Ratio: 21%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1964 film What a Way to Go!

2011/08/14

Furs on Film – Funny Lady

More color. 70’s color! 70’s color about the 20’s and 30’s! The 70’s don’t get enough credit for some nice furs, because, well, it’s hard to see anything in the shadow of the blinding brilliance of the 80’s. Most period pieces are as much a product of the time in which they are produced, so lucky for us there was no problem with big furs in the 70’s.

Funny Lady – The Film

Funny Lady (1975) is a sequel to the film Funny Girl (1968), both biographical of Fanny Brice, an early success in stage, radio, and film. Staring Barbara Streisand, Funny Girl was one of her first big hits. For what it’s worth, there’s s bit of fur in Funny Girl, but it’s from the 60’s about the Teens and 20’s, so it’s yawn-worthy. Funny Lady deals with Brice’s later life in the 30’s (yeah!), and her marriage to showman Billy Rose (James Caan).

Funny Lady – The Furs

As Brice, the subject of this two-hour plus biopic, Streisand does most, but not quite all, the fur wearing. Brice is depicted as the classic Hollywood star from the period, and that includes a lot of fur. One of the reason I’m rather fond of that period, indeed.

The opening scenes are set earlier, in the late 20’s and the costume designer (sadly) went for a bit of realism. Brice wears some dark, short-haired furs, such as this wrap.

Followed by this, another bit of brown fur trimming a fabric top. The horizontal pelt work is mildly interesting. This scene also features Miss Brice smoking in fur, using a short cigarette holder.

Finally, someone remembers they were designing costumes in the 70’s. Here’s a nice white fox stole, with Fanny’s somewhat “signature” cigarette holder. Good shot of the white fox here, very high on the shoulder.

Streisand spends most of this lengthy sequence seated, but there is a short shot of her changing seats where we see more of the white fox stole.

The cinematographer rightly keeps Streisand in frame most of the time, and most of the time she’s smoking with that cigarette holder.

“Most” of the time. Probably one of the few on the planet who’d notice this, I admit, but she “mysteriously” looses the holder at the very end of the scene. Here she is smoking without it right before leaving. This will not go down as one of the great goofs of cinematic history. I’ll tell you the greatest goof: the character Helen Shirley wears two different full length fox coats at the end of Christmas Vacation, one outside, one inside.

On to the marquee fur. One that’s hard to describe, and I like it when that happens. Show’s some creativity on the part of the costume designers. This appears to be a kind of wrap / collar made from fox tails with a more easy-to-describe matching fox muff.

Like the white fox stole, this item also receives the attention it deserves in this long sequence between Streisand and Caan. It includes a few nice closeups.

And we see it from a few angles, always a nice bonus.

It also tickles my preference for colors that don’t occur in nature. This looks like a nice, dark, richly saturated plum dyed fox.

Streisand doesn’t do all the heavy lifting in the film, though if you blink, you’ll miss the other stuff. Well, not quite, but certainly nothing major. This lady in an external shot with the black fox trim probably isn’t even visible if you’re not seeing the film in its original aspect ratio.

Up next is the part of the film that almost becomes “padding.” It’s a black fox stole, though, a perfectly nice one, in fact. Sadly it’s worn in a very “moodily” lit sequence over a black dress (which, fashionably speaking, is a great match). So it’s really hard to see a lot of the time.

Not all the time, of course, and this shot at the mirror where Fanny lights up for another smoke while wearing the stole is quite clear. It moves from this to a full musical number on a dimly lit stage that, again, doesn’t do the stole much justice.

Another non-Streisand fur, a nice one, but a quick one. This blue fox stole needed a better, longer shot.

It also needs to be in a shot that doesn’t remind me that karakul is actually considered a “fur.” I’d say it’s a fur I actually “hate” but I don’t consider it a fur, just some sick joke by someone who wanted to associate one of the ugliest things you can wear with one of the most beautiful.

We do end on a better note, though this one is quite literally a “blink and you’ll miss it” fur. Brice is leaving her radio show, pulling on this really full silver fox stroller coat. It’s around for a couple seconds in a hallway then a couple more in a very wide shot outside the studio.

20 minutes of fur sounds impressive, but the move is over 2 hours long, so the ratio clocks in at 15%. According to the Wikipedia article, they had to cut to get to that length. Hope there weren’t any more great furs that ended up on the cutting room floor. A solid entry, and worthy addition to any library. Fanny’s smoking habit and affection for holders will be polarizing for some, I suppose, but obviously I’m in the ‘pro’ camp on that one. Actually, if I had to nitpick, I’d say the holder was a little too short.

Fur Runtime: approx 20 minutes
Film Runtime: 136 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 15%

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of the 1975 film Funny Lady

2011/07/31

Furs on TV – Moonlighting Seasons 1 and 2

Posting has been a little thin in these, the dog days of summer. Not that that’s an actual excuse, mind you, just sounds nice. In any case, I think this one may be a little popular. My stats are clear on one thing, readers like color, and readers love the 80’s. Hey I love both too, just a little trickier getting 80’s furs here, at least with televised sources. Which leads me to this, which isn’t from a televised source at all. They didn’t turn out as well as I’d hoped, but I’ll try refining my technique over time.

Moonlighting- The Series

Not to say that Moonlighting wasn’t televised, it certainly was, and I watched it. The story of a down-on-her-luck model/actress (Cybill Shepherd) with only one remaining source of income, a detective agency she didn’t know she had, and the rather free spirited guy (Bruce Willis) who ran the place solo until she showed up. Romantic tension abounded, cases were solved, and some very innovative television appeared from time to time. Then the writers screwed it all up. But that was season 3 and 4, and so my annoyance with the show shouldn’t be much of an issue here.

Moonlighting- The Furs

While the monetary woes of Madeline “Maddie” Hayes drove her to a day job at a detective agency, little about her home, and, most importantly, her wardrobe, suggested she was in any real financial trouble. No, Maddie generally looked the part of a model/actress, and she certainly didn’t have to sell her furs to make ends meet. Oh, what furs they were…

Gunfight at the So-So Corral”

This episode introduces us to the full length amber fox coat that receives quite a bit of screen time in this and another episode. It’s the coat that ends up in the credit sequence for Cybill Shepherd in later seasons.

This episode provides two fairly long sequences for the fox coat, which is, like every fur Maddie wears, a poster child for 80’s mega fox.

There’s a few good close shots of it as well.

Fur Runtime: 3:55

Read the Mind… See the Movie”

Up next is this equally ravishing crystal fox.

Like the previous episode, the coat is given quite the display, clocking in at nearly 3 minutes, with some great wide shots.

And closer shots as Maddie argues with David later. Them, arguing? I’m shocked!

Fur Runtime: 2:41

Next Stop, Murder”

The full length amber fox fur coat is back, and, if you didn’t get enough of it in “Gunfight at the So-So Corral,” then “Next Stop, Murder” will help you out… a lot.

The coat clocks in at about 8 minutes of screen time, almost a fifth of the episode.

She wears it dangling from her shoulders most of that time, as we’re treated to it from most every angle and width of shot.

Multiple close ups provide very nice views of Miss Shepherd’s face framed by the fur.

Fur Runtime: 7:30

Brother, Can You Spare a Blonde?”

Season two starts off fairly light, with what may be the crystal fox coat seen in “Read the Mind… See the Movie” in a confined driving shot.

The coat is only seen twice, once when she’s driving, once when she’s a passenger. Not all that great an episode by any stretch of the imagination.

Fur Runtime: 0:40

Knowing Her”

Things don’t pick up, much, as season two rolls on. While Miss Shepherd did most of the fur wearing in the series, it certainly wasn’t exclusive to her. This rather fast shot of a quintessential 80’s prostitute, wearing fox, of course, isn’t very long, but is appreciated for keeping the stereotype alive.

Fur Runtime: 0:18

“The Bride of Tupperman”

Things get back on track with this episode, and a full length lynx fur coat that receives all the attention it deserves.

There’s a few close ups, and the coat is seen from all angles.

Plus, for those who may be interested, she is wearing some gloves with lynx.

This was the second season’s second best fur episode overall.

Fur Runtime: 2:45

“North by North Dipesto”

In keeping with the opening up of mega fox fur coat wearing to those not Cybill Shepherd in season two, there’s reliable Agnes Dipesto’s shot at glamor with this episode.

While Agnes Dipesto (Allyce Beasley) doesn’t quite fill this fur out the way Maddie might, she makes a go of it.

It becomes the focus of a joke as Agnes’ encounters a man who (dashingly) removes it and tosses it over a railing where it lands on a chatting couple.

Fur Runtime: 0:20

“Every Daughter’s Father Is a Virgin”

Season two’s final fur is a good one to go out on. This is a different full length white fox coat, and it is worn a bit more appropriately by Maddie Hayes. It also receives the screen time such a large fox merits, a good 2 minutes.

At no point in any episode has Maddie worn anything but a huge 80’s fox fur, and for that we can certainly appreciate the dedication of the show’s costuming department.

You can tell this a different white fox from “North by North Dipesto” because of the chevron pattern to the pelts in back, which the previous white fox lacked.

Fur Runtime: 2:15

Moonlighting‘s overall episode ratio isn’t quite the impressive stat of a Dynasty or Dallas, but the quality of furs when they appear is exquisite. As I said, Maddie Hayes has only one kind of fur in her closet, and that’s big. There’s little doubt these wonderful fox and lynx coats hailed from the mid-80’s. Later seasons didn’t have quite so much fur, but when they did, they were still uniformly large. That certainly makes Moonlighting a worthy addition to any collection.

Full Gallery: Fur Fashions of Moonlighting’s 1st and 2nd Seasons

2010/10/24

Mamie Van Doren – Dyed Fox Wrap

Picturegoer Film Annual 1960-61

Originally uploaded by CharmaineZoe

Going all PG-13 on you this morning. This is Mamie Van Doren, whose career fell, sadly, in the 50’s and 60’s, thus depriving her of a lot of opportunities for nice furs on screen. Even more disappointing as she was a member of the “blonde bombshell” club, and as we can see here, nothing accents a bombshell better than fox.

She does wear a small white fox in Teacher’s Pet, I believe. That’s the extent of what I can remember.

Fortunately cheesecake fills in where films disappoint. You may notice how the pose subtly accents her legs…

I will pick on the dye, not because I don’t like dyed fox, I love it, I’d just have gone for something in the pink/red/purple end of the color spectrum.

2010/02/21

Furs on Film – Silk Stockings

The 1950s weren’t entirely a wasteland of “elegant and tasteful” (read: boring) mink. There were exceptions, usually in the form of stoles, and this next update is the poster child of 1950’s fox stoles. It also contains my main weakness… pink dyed fox. Silk Stockings is, like fox stoles, something the 50’s presented a lot of: musical remakes of “old” films. In this case the old film was 1939’s Ninotchka. Ninotchka is one of Greta Garbo’s last films, and committed the cardinal sin of presenting her as a Russian who wore no fur at all. Silk Stockings doesn’t quite make up for this, but it’s a solid film nonetheless.

Silk Stockings – The Film

The plot of the film follows the main beats of Ninotchka, but the excuses for the characters being where they are have been tweaked a bit, mostly because this is one of those musicals that provide the thinnest excuse for people to sing. Fred Astaire plays a film producer who snags a Russian composer to write music for his films. The Kremlin sends agents to get him back, but they are corruped by “decadent” western ways. They then send Ninotchka Yoschenko, a true fan of Communism, to bring them all back, proving to be a tougher nut to crack. Since this is 50’s musical, though, said nut is cracked and everyone lives happily ever after in the decadent western paradise.

Silk Stockings – The Furs

Perhaps in homage to the original, Agent Yoschenko is, sadly, not clad in any decadent western fur coats. These are left to the character of Peggy Dayton (Janis Paige), who is the star of producer Steve Canfield’s (Fred Astaire) film. Given the choice, I would have preferred Cyd Charisse be the one swathed in big fox stoles, but, given a real choice, I would have picked Greta Garbo over either of them.

Peggy Dayton arrives, to the film, and the plot, in a big way. It’s a 50’s musical, so entrances are important, and this one is done with a white fox stole and muff combo.

The shot is pretty much wide throughout, sadly. I could have used a closer view of this outfit.

Later, Miss Dayton and Agent Yoshenko briefly meet up, with their contrasting styles on clear display.

Cyd departs, leaving us with an extended conversation between Canfield and Dayton, with Janis Paige vamping around in this wonderful dyed fox stole.

The film’s insistence on wide shots is somewhat frustrating. Though I’m ordinarily no fan, I would have liked the opportunity to direct the “pan-and-scan” cut of the film. Granted, people might wonder where Fred Astaire went to after a while…

Widescreen does have its uses, as this glamor pose on the couch, wrapped in thick dyed fox, does Miss Paige well.

Finally we come to that strange, somewhat rarity… the fur clad musical number. This one features my fashionable Achilles heel… pink dyed fox. I love pink fox, let me just say that directly. I think most fox is a little more “in your face” from a fashion perspective, and brightly dyed versions play that up nicely.

In this musical number, Peggy is trying to “convince” the Russian composer to work for Steve Canfield.

I would have signed up pretty quickly, but it’s a long musical number so it takes some time.

Sadly the big pink fox trim doesn’t hang around the whole time, but in taking it off, the film actually does something akin to a closeup, which is impressive, considering.

Overall this is a great example of 50’s fox stoles, and an even better example of great dyed fox. Still, it suffers for its legacy, as throughout my thoughts drifted first to thinking of Cyd Charisse in those fox stoles, then, to the great one herself, Greta Garbo, who would have filled them out gloriously. Well, Garbo filled out any fur gloriously, so that’s not really saying much, I know. Apologies to Janis Paige, of course, but really, can’t think of many women who would weather a Garbo comparison.

Despite having almost 7 minutes of fur, the ratio is pretty slim because this is (as I believe I’ve pointed out before) a 50’s musical and they were generally pushing the duce / duce-and-a-half mark.

Fur Runtime: approx 7 minutes
Film Runtime: 117 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 5%

The full gallery is here: Fur Fashions of the 1957 film Silk Stockings.

2009/12/13

Furs On Televsion – Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis

Heading back to more familiar territory, the 1980’s, with one from “the vaults” of older caps. Always nice to be reminded what a truly spectacular decade that was. With any luck the fashion cycle will replay it sooner rather than later. I’m filing this under “television” and not film because it was a TV movie, and that “Furs on Television” category is looking a little anemic.

Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis – The Film

From 1959 to 1963 there was a sitcom called The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis. In so far as it wasn’t something I caught very often on the “nostalgia” networks (I was more a Green Acres man, Lisa Douglas FTW), I’m not very familiar with it. In 1988, before it showed up on Nick-At-Night, someone created a reunion movie. The film’s plot was lifted from a 1956 tragicomedy by Swiss dramatist Friedrich Dürrenmatt, as the IMDb’s film pundits are literally dying to tell you about. The upshot of which is an old girlfriend blows into town to snag Dobie away from his happy home life by bribing the economically down-on-its-luck town.

Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis – The Furs

That old girlfriend is played by Connie Stevens, and her wardrobe was pure 1980’s rich lady. Yes, Connie, as Thalia Menninger, blows into town on Air Force One with her well stocked closet, and it’s brimming with fox.

In “great entrance” territory, Connie walks off Air Force One wearing a full length lynx coat.

Could be lynx dyed fox, either way, it’s a spectacular, thick ankle length fur.

On to the bribery, which Connie announces while beautifully accessorized in this dyed fox stole and muff. I believe the color has been referred to as “glacier” in other places, which, admittedly, has a bit more panache than “light blue.”

I “confess” to a deep adoration for brightly dyed fox. Though pink is a particular favorite, this one is quite nice indeed. I remain confused by Hollywood’s costume designers unceasing desire to break up such lovely muffs with metal broaches. This one is only slightly less annoying than the one in Lady of Burlesque.

Next up there’s this large red fox, which is another magnificent specimen from the 80’s mega fox line. Not quite as long as her entrance fur, but quite the coat nonetheless.

Connie does the “imperious” look while wearing the fox perfectly.

Massively full pelts on this coat as well as we get a quick glimpse from behind.

To wrap up we see a final red fox, different from the previous one as evidenced by the horizontal pattern of the pelts. This appears to be a very long cape, worn, while riding a horse, by Thalia in one of Dobie’s dream sequences.

Basically, this is just one of the finer examples of why I really liked growing up during the 80’s. Sadly things got a little rough after that. If I had to nitpick, I’m afraid Miss Stevens, while lovely, may have been a little past her prime at this point in her career. I admit it was appropriate casting considering the show’s original air-date, but that would have been a great Morgan Fairchild role. Perhaps most tellingly, it would be a great role for 2009 Morgan Fairchild.

Fur Runtime: approx 5 minutes
Film Runtime: 100 minutes
On-Screen Fur Ratio: 5%

Full Gallery- Fur Fashions of Bring Me the Head of Dobie Gillis

2008/09/08

Fur on TV – Paper Dolls

“For all sad words of tongue and pen, the saddest are these: ‘It might have been’.”

Now that John Greenleaf Whittier is spinning in his grave over the use of that rather brilliant turn of phrase on a blog, we can move on to talk about Paper Dolls.

The Show

From September to December of 1984, ABC attempted to duplicate the Dynasty gravy train with another high-society evening soap. The setting, high fashion modeling. The year 1984. In summation: major fur glamor.

Sadly, this 80’s fur-fueled epic was not to last, stripping posterity of years of glamorous stars in enormous fox coats. We have only our fantasies to guide us about what the years to come may have brought. All that remains are 14 all-to-brief episodes of fur glory.

The Pilot

…comes out swinging on cold days and nights, forcing one of the last of the great 80’s fur stars, Morgan Fairchild, to do what she does best, look awesome in a big fur coat. One might quibble over Brenda Vaccaro and how she went a bit downhill so many years after Midnight Cowboy, but I have to look on the bright side and think, it could have been worse.

Who else should appear but a very young Mimi Rogers, pimping a very nice full length lynx. Paper Dolls obviously had a budget behind it. I would have been happy with just “foxes of many colors”, but you can’t complain about tossing in some high end lynx.

The Female Leads

Speaking of very young, Nicollette Sheridan made her acting debut on Paper Dolls. She’d later bring the fur in Knots Landing and ever so briefly in Desperate Housewives later, but this was her start, and what a start it was. Perhaps if the show had lasted she’d have made fox coats all the rage with the teenage set.

Making sure she covers her fundamentals, Nicollette gets some red fox time in as well. Sadly, she did not get a chance to wrap up in some blue fox before the show’s so premature departure.

Who is that she’s talking to? Yes, Trek fans, that’s none other than Jadzia Dax of Deep Space Nine, Terry Farrell. Sadly, Terry’s character was the more grounded, reserved, and modestly incomed of the two main model players. She was level-headed ying to Nicollette’s rich yang. Thankfully, she did not go completely furless the entire short run…

Granted, given the choice, I’m kind of glad if there had to be only 1 of the two that wore furs more often, it was Nicollette. This isn’t to say if Dax had been walking around Deep Space Nine in enormous fox coats all the time, I would have minded.

Bonus Shots

Just a few extras, as it’s not like I don’t have a lot of them. Here’s Morgan Fairchild in what appears to be stone martin, or maybe just a pleasantly colored mink.  I enjoyed the juxtaposition of Morgan’s teased out blond on top and the fur on the bottom.

I think this is Jennifer Warren in a nice dyed fox. Love the dyed foxes, though my preferences run more towards hot pink than purple. The interesting thing about this one is that it’s very similar to the coat that shows up in an episode of Dallas. Same alternate sleeve dyes and all.

Brenda going for extra points with the cigarette holder here. Smoking, good, cigarette holders, awesome.

And that’s it for Paper Dolls. This isn’t all the fur there was on the show, even. It displayed so much potential, only to be cut down before it could amass a good 100 episodes of massive fox coats. Sadly, prior to mass Internet connectivity, there was no grass roots campaign to bring the show back.

Full Gallery: The Furs of Paper Dolls