Fur or against? For
Designer and stylist Maria Fusco has a wardrobe stuffed with animal skin -- and says there's nothing as elegant as floor-sweeping fur.
"If someone wants to wear a fur coat, they're entitled to wear it. It's a bit like drinking or smoking; I don't think anyone should be allowed to dictate what I wear. I have rabbit, mink and fox fur pieces in my wardrobe that I bought down through the years.
"Personally, I don't see anything wrong with it. Fur has made a big comeback on the catwalk thanks to shows like Mad Men.
"In recent years, no-one would dare venture out in a fur coat, but over the winter I saw lots of women walking around Dublin wearing them. There's nothing warmer or more beautiful than vintage fur.
"I've worked as a stylist for Fendi -- a fashion house famous for its fur -- and the craftsmanship that goes into making a fur coat is quite amazing. I think the anti-fur brigade is far too extreme in its approach -- handing out leaflets with pictures of skinned animals and protesting outside fur shops.
"In Australia, they wear possum as there are so many it's practically considered vermin -- but I wouldn't go out and buy the fur of an animal that was endangered. People are very hypocritical when it comes to fur; they have no problem wearing a leather watch or boots made from cow or make-up that's been tested on animals, but somehow see using the hide of certain animals as 'cruel'.
"High-street stores are crammed with faux fur at the minute, which only proves that girls still want to get the look. Faux fur is made from synthetic materials and chemicals, so in many ways the real thing is actually a lot more eco-friendly.
"When I'm finished with my fur coat, I'll hand it down to the next generation; whereas last season's faux fur coat will be tossed into landfill. A fur coat is forever. Anyway, if we were to analyse everything we wear, we wouldn't wear anything at all!"