A few short fashion seasons ago, anyone who was anyone wouldn’t be seen dead in fur.
Now, it seems, they wouldn’t be seen in anything else.
Yesterday, models on the Paris catwalks were wrapped up in layer upon layer of the softest, fluffiest fur for years.
And, controversially, every tuft of it was real.
That celebrated 1994 advert in which supermodels were seen with no clothes on as they declared: ‘We’d rather go naked than wear fur’ seemed a long way away.
The hard-hitting People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals campaign had a big impact on the fashion industry, which for a time started exploring fake fur and other fabrics.
But yesterday, former PETA enthusiast Naomi Campbell warmly applauded in the front row as a white mink coat decorated with fox fur made an appearance at the Donatella Versace show.
Then Amber Valetta strode out in a jacket lined with fox fur featuring a lynx print.
Fur was in favour at no fewer than 18 fashion houses during Paris couture fashion week.
Tom Steifel Christensen, the Copenhagen furrier who supplied the furs, said he was delighted to see them being used by so many designers.
Not so long ago, Christensen furs were relegated to raincoat linings to avoid the animal protectionists’ wrath. Now it seems, the newest way to wear fur is simply more ostentatious than ever.
Jean Paul Gaultier wrapped a bright orange fox fur stole (complete with head) around the shoulders of a long Chinese-style tunic.
Then he added rose pink rabbit fur to a Chinese brocade coat and gave a kimono coat a furry lining.
There was even a ball skirt completely fashioned out of strips of Mongolian fur.
John Galliano’s acclaimed Mongolian collection for Christian Dior also showed off a plethora of pelts.
Davey Crockett-style head-bands of golden fox emphasised the Mongolian theme. There were fur coats over silk and cotton patchwork jackets and even fur boots stalking on to the catwalk.
The message, which will horrify anti-cruelty campaigners, seems clear. Dig out your furs from the back of the wardrobe and flaunt them.
There was a hint of restraint however, at Givenchy – where Briton Julien Macdonald has joined as design director.
Macdonald has promised to produce clothes that will ‘make women more beautiful rather than vulgar’ – a swipe at his predecessors Alexander McQueen and John Galliano.
He aims to stay true to the spirit of Hubert de Givenchy, best known for his signature outfits for Audrey Hepburn.
Macdonald’s collection, in elegant black, is expected to woo back women who may have been frightened off by fashion’s wilder side.