Cristobal Balenciaga (Spanish, Guetaria, San Sebastian 1895–1972 Javea)
Gift of Countess Edward Bismarck, 1981
Not on view
Since the 1970s both the producers and consumers of fur fashions have come under criticism by animal-welfare organizations. Several designers have responded to this antifur initiative by promoting fake fur as an ethical alternative to real fur. In the 1960s Cristobal Balenciaga, driven less by ethics than by aesthetics, experimented with textiles and techniques that imitated the look and feel of fur. In this coat he employed Papacha, a mohair developed by Lida and Zika Ascher in 1965 that is knotted by hand to give the impression of tufts of fur.