There is a seductive grace in the effect of fur-trimmed chiffon which is unobtainable with any other materials. Perhaps it is the incongruity of the alliance which makes for charm ; that such cobweb material as silk muslin should require a warm trimming to make it suitable wear in winter is undeniable, but the fact that bare arms and shoulders usually accompany the wearing of full evening dress in this country makes the idea of utility untenable.
Furs that may be Used
The fur-trimmed dress requires great care in construction, for it must on no account be overweighted with its trimming. The fur of whatever kind used should be quite narrow, or, if a four or six-inch width is specially desired, it should be kept on the lower half of the skirt, or we are oppressed by the too-heavy display of the pelt. As a rule, the narrowest border only is admissible, and an inch-wide strip of the skin, turned over an, eighth of an inch on each side over a thin padding of cotton-wool, for the purpose of slightly raising the fur when sewn on, is quite wide enough for ordinary purposes.
Such furs as tailless ermine, mink, sable, or chinchilla make delightful winter and early , spring garnitures for dresses; the old-fashioned otter looks well if used with a certain rather grey-blue or as trimming to chiffon or a soft satin of exactly its own colour.
When the fur is white, a rather wider strip is permissible, as the heaviness of dark fur has not to be considered. A very beautiful sapphire velvet visiting toilette has a deep panel of lace point de venise. This panel, which is of a deep ivory tint, is edged with a two-inch border of ermine, the tails being used sparsely.
Chinchilla is most beautiful when used on soft satin or one of the new supple brocades of exactly its own grey colour. The changing tones of softly-folding materials give a play of light and shade which bring in all the delicate harmonies in the fur, from the whitish grey of the outside edge through cloud tones to the darker mark on the central lines of the pelt.
A Dress Scheme in Grey
Such a dress, with cloud-grey tulle sleeves, will bear a single note of colour, preferably a splash of vivid orange or rose in the knot which fastens a shoulder-strap, or in the hair of a handsome brunette.
Occasionally a Court gown is edged with fur all round the train. A very beautiful picture of H.r.h. Princess Victor Napoleon has been published, which shows a magnificent sable garniture thus used. The imperial beauty of the wearer can well stand such a note, but those less well dowered with slender height and good looks will do well to moderate the amount of fur trimming used.
A favourite way of using the fur is to have a single strip as trimming to one shoulder drapery, the other being of handsome embroidery or bugled trimming.
The fur or marabout feather-trimmed scarf is a real luxury, and nothing is easier to make. Two and a half to three yards is not too long for such a dressy evening wrap, and it is a dainty idea to make it of the same rose chiffon, violet-sprinkled silk muslin, or whatever material of which the dress is made.
If an old stole of fur is available, it is quite easy to cut strips from it to use as edging. The lighter the fur the better for indoor wear; on no account can Persian lamb be used for this purpose, as this fur is always associated with outdoor purposes - why, we know not, for nothing is more worn than skunk, a certainly darker and coarser fur, but the rage in Paris on every occasion.
Two suggestions for using fur on indoor dresses. The figure on the left shows a novel method of using a strip of fur on one shoulder and a piece of embroidery on the other, On the right is seen a shoulder fichu edged with fur, as well as finishings of fur on the elbow sleeves and the tunic
On the whole, on account of its warmth and lightness, marabout feather is the most suitable, while the old-fashioned and becoming swansdown is very pleasant on evening scarves. It is indeed a return to early Victorian modes to see a swansdown-trimmed debutante's dress, but nothing could be prettier or younger and fresher looking than this last addition to the fur or feather trimmed evening dress.
By the judicious use of fur an otherwise simple and commonplace gown may be given the individual touch that the modern woman prizes. She may have far less to spend on dress than her friends, but if she can adapt the idea of the moment in an original manner to her gowns she knows she will achieve a greater success than is obtained by the mere spending of money. As in so many other instances, discretion must be used, or the beauty of the effect desired will be lost.
Sable or some kindred peltry is used with an admirable effect of richness and elaboration on the evening gown on the left On the right is shown a charming gown for a debutante, in which swansdown edgings play an important part