Rat fur is in vogue!
Rat's fur has appeared on a number of autumn/winter 2010 ramp shows.fashion and trends Updated: Jun 13, 2010 14:28 IST
Mink, sable, chinchilla, fox, rabbit — fur is back. But joining the ranks of these exclusive pelts this winter will be fur from an unlikely source — the bayou water rat, better known as the nutria. Its fur has appeared on a number of autumn/winter 2010 ramp shows. Alabama-based designer Billy Reid chose nutria fur for collars, hats and an evening cape. Fashion house J Mendel showed it with precious pelts on coats and gilets. Oscar de la Renta deployed it as a thick trim on the hem of jewel-toned coats.
“The ladies of Park Avenue will be mighty pleased,” style.com swooned. But can rat fur carry the same sense of luxury as mink? Though the designers evade a comment, it appears that killing nutria for fur is more a necessity. Nutria thrive to the point of environmental degradation in the marshland of southern Louisiana. “We thought the alligator population would control them,” says Edmond Mouton, a biologist with the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. So licensed trappers receive $5 for every tail they turn into coastal collection stations: 445,963 nutria were culled in the just-concluded 2009-2010 season.
Last autumn New Orleans-based artist Cree McCree launched a fashion initiative for ethically sourced nutria fur and sold nutria teeth earrings for $30 and necklaces for $60-75.