Dressed for Aspen: fashion, function, fur
December 29, 2007
ASPEN ” When the mercury drops in Aspen, the fur starts flying ” off the racks.
The recent cold snap is driving holiday shoppers to make the big impulse buys in local boutiques, according to local furriers.
As of October, net sales of fur in the city of Aspen stood at about $650,000. And though slightly below last year’s mark, the figure does not account for the busy high season, according to city finance officials.
“It’s very busy,” said Mark Goodman, a partner in Mark Richards Fine Outerwear on the Cooper Avenue mall in Aspen.
A third-generation furrier with six years in Aspen, Goodman called the effects of wearing fur “totally toasty.”
Shoppers often buy a fur on impulse, Goodman said. And recent sub-zero temperatures have made the impulse all that much more impulsive.
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While fur is “super-light and remarkably warm,” Richards said wearing fur is as much about the look.
There are a lot of misconceptions about the “Aspen style,” Goodman said. While the thought of Aspen might conjures images of gaudy, ostentatious overcoats, he said the real Aspen is more sophisticated and focused on couture.
“There’s nothing more warm or luxurious than wrapping yourself in fur,” said Dennis Basso, a designer and owner of a high-end fur outlet in the Little Nell building.
Basso echoed the practical aspects of fur in the mountains, and said he designs pieces for the Aspen market ” or “with Aspen in mind” ” that are slightly more outdoorsy or Western.
“[Fur is] part of the Aspen look; it always has been,” Basso said.
Some people out in their furs on Thursday agreed (see video for on-street interviews).
“It’s the high-end fashion-designer ski look,” said Suzie Defosset, who with her twin sister Nicky runs a fashion publicists firm in Los Angeles. The two were looking for finds in Aspen shops Thursday.
“It’s not just any ski town, but it takes it to a new level,” Suzie said.
“You have to have fur boots with the fur hat ” It’s all about the fur,” Nicky said.
“Fur is good. It keeps you warm,” Suzie said, adding that a good cashmere scarf is “key.”
And no Aspen outfit is complete without oversized glasses. The pair bought theirs at Optica on Cooper Avenue, as well as gloves at Ralph Lauren.
“It’s all about the accessories,” Suzie said.
“And trying to stay warm at the same time,” Nicky added, finishing her sister’s sentence.
“It’s so cold today, you have to be from toes to your head in fur,” said Yanna Blacy of Aspen on Thursday. “It’s Aspen after all.”
Jeans, tall boots, a furry hat and a beautiful smile, Blacy said ” that’s the Aspen look.
Sure, once in a while you see someone a little rough around the edges from a night on the town, Blacy said, “But that’s Aspen. We won’t tell.”
“Very shabby-chic, you’ve got rhinestone bling mixed with western and denim,” said Heather Wagenhals of Scottsdale, Ariz. about Aspen cold-weather fashion.
Her husband, Fred Wagenhals, said he spends between $50 and $100,000 shopping at Aspen boutiques every Christmas.
“Instead of bringing three suitcases, you bring eight suitcases,” Mr. Wagenhals said, and if you forget something, you just buy it.
Sandy Iglehart of Aspen was walking the malls Thursday with her niece Jennifer Crick. A fan of a bit of fur to stay warm and a touch of Aspen chic, Iglehart said she often gives out mock “fashion tickets” to the occasional Aspen fashion victim.
“They try too hard and have the most God-awful combinations,” Iglehart said. “You know, they have like way too much going on.”
“Keep it simple,” was her niece Crick’s advice.
“Take one thing off if you’re unsure,” Iglehart said. “Accessorizing is good, but it can be too much.”