Red is the colour this season: Dior has used it for its fox dresses in a new campaign photographed by Willy Vanderperre. 

New?  In construction, a little.  The main image does show two girls looking like furry sirens enticing their victims to the rocky shore. The designer Valentino Gavarani said that red was "the ultimate cure for sadness". The Great Whore of Babylon was attired in red and purple, sitting astride a scarlet beast in the Book of Revelations. Bette Davis as Jezebel in the eponymous film scandalised her peers by wearing red and Diana Vreeland wore a corsage of red camellias against her white frock at her coming out ball. Balenciaga, Schiaparelli, Dior, Chanel - all featured red in their work, but Valentino made that one poppy-coloured dress in each collection a trademark. Now Valentino's red dresses, photographed by many including Steven Meisel and Mert and Marcus are as iconic as the red robes worn by cardinals, immortalised by Titian and Raphael.

Maybe red is a cure for sadness. Derived from cochineal originally, it has varied from 'Scarlet' to 'Lustie Red', 'Incarnate', Gingerline', Bowdy', 'Brassel', 'Murrey', 'Pear' and 'Sanguin' - all these obsolete names for types of red in dress. And it  is Numero Uno in nature: we come into the world covered in red blood and if we are unlucky, we die in it. La Vreeland understood the traditional Chinese belief that red is auspicious, like fire, it symbolises good fortune and joy. 'All my life I’ve pursued the perfect red. I can never get painters to mix it for me. It’s exactly as if I’d said, ‘I want rococo with a spot of Gothic in it and a bit of Buddhist temple’—they have no idea what I’m talking about. About the best red is to copy the colour of a child’s cap in any Renaissance portrait.”

Dior selected the red ensembles to be used in this season's campaign. Selected are some other fur advertising campaigns, most memorable being the truly iconic Blackglama images by Richard Avedon, amongst others. So far, no advertisements, however, have included mention on sustainability, traceability or supply chain. This, surely, along with the red hot 'glamour', needs to happen next.

Edward VI as Prince of Wales, by Hans Holbein, 1539
Edward VI as Prince of Wales, by Hans Holbein and school of. Red and cloth of gold, as befitted the son of Henry VIII.
Anna Wintour
Red Rum: Editor-in-Chief of American Vogue, Anna Wintour, from Fur Insider.
Dior Autumn/Winter 2015
Frocking Fur … The latest advertising campaign for Dior A/W 2015 Foxy Sirens on the lookout, the cliffs in Granville, Normandy, where M. Dior was born in 1905.

Photographer: Willy Vanderperre
Jerry Hall, Siren - Roxy Music, 1975
Jerry Hall, Siren - Roxy Music, 1975. Costume, hair, makeup by Antony Price. Jerry Hall had been spotted by Bryan Ferry in a Vogue shoot and he decided that she was the perfect woman to play a legendary siren, mythical creatures, half women, half birds, who lure men at sea to their deaths on rocks. Photograph by Graham Hughes.
© Mark Karl Hughes, 2015
Red on the Rocks …. Homage to Jerry by Mark Karl Hughes.
Vogue, August 1932
'Lady into Red Fox', Schiaparelli - Vogue, August 1932, probably by Lee Creelman Erickson. Schiaparelli was always ahead of the curve with her ability to shock.
Jezebel, 1938
Bette Davis as Julie Marsden in Jezebel, 1938, directed by William Wyler, costumes by Orry-Kelly. Julie wears a red gown to the local debs’ ball, where dress code is virginal white. Shocking Red!!
Dior Autumn/Winter 2015, Look 34
Call of the Mild: multi-coloured dyed farmed fox skins … Christian Dior by Raf Simons, Autumn/Winter 2015 , look 34
© Mark Karl Hughes, 2015
© Mark Karl Hughes, 2015
Sophia Loren by Avedon, 1959
Sophia Loren swathed in furs by Revillon, photographed by Richard Avedon, 1959.
Interesting note: the only film that Sophia Loren had out in 1959 was 'That Kind of Woman', directed by Sidney Lumet, costuming by Edith head. Sophia Loren as the female lead Kay in the movie poster wearing red.
Dior Autumn/Winter 2015, Look 31
Sea-green fox skin mini-dress, Christian Dior by Raf Simons, Autumn/Winter 2015 , Look 31
Dior 1972, by Frederic Castet
1972 – Frederic Castet for Christian Dior
in Emba mink.
Hockanum Woolens, 1951
1951 – Hockanum Woolens Ad Campaign, October Harper's Bazaar - by Edwin Georgi, 1896 – 1964. This member of the ‘pulp fiction’ artist loved an American style of glamour that bordered on kitsch. The lighting is cinematic and the women always a particularly wholeseome kind of femme fatale; which makes them doubly-erotic. This one is Grace Kellyesque – watch out for his Marilyn’s. His furs are always incidental, just like Leyendecker’s.
John Galliano for Givenchy Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 1996
Woman in Red: John Galliano does Toulouse-Lautrec red, Givenchy Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 1996. Same outfit by Scarlett-Madonna at the Evita premiere, 1996
© Mark Karl Hughes, 2015
© Mark Karl Hughes, 2015
Valentino Autumn/Winter 2006
Valentino Autumn/Winter 2006, Photographed by Mert & Marcus.
Valentino Spring/Summer 1959
Valentino Spring/Summer 1959, Look 79 'Fiesta'
Revillon Advertisment, 1955
1955 - Revillon Alaska Fur Seal Advertisment
Saks 5th Avenue Advertisment, 1960
What is that Viking doing here? Norse couture ... 1960 - Saga Fur coat in Saks 5th Avenue advertisment
SAGA MINK advertisent, Vogue November 1965
‘My Wonderful Husband … ‘, short Saga mink jacket, cheaper than the car she wanted … now she can walk with him in the park and go shopping. SAGA MINK advertisent, Vogue November 1965
Jean Muir for Saga, 1967
‘Jean Muir is Mad Mink’: Saga Furs advertisement, Vogue September 15, 1967
David Bailey for Vogue October 1969
The queen’s furrier Calman Links does hip … a mid winter wild silver fox mini-jacket for 'You and the Greater Fur’. By David Bailey for Vogue October 1969.
Lazzarini Pellicce, 1972
1972 - Lazzarini Pellicce, Saga mink fox
Saga Mink, 1968
Saga Mink Advertisment, 1968
© Mark Karl Hughes, 2015
© Mark Karl Hughes, 2015

Mrs Miniver

‘Miniver’ has all the gorgeous allusions to the age of chivalry, the medieval past and the courts of the Plantagenets and Valois. Fur in fashion repeats itself over and over again, from the white fox lining the robes of ‘Salome’ in the Byzantine Ravenna Mosaics to the mink that trimmed the robes of Henry VIII.

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