What do you get when a seasoned, third generation furrier combines her passion for and knowledge of furs, her technical know-how, her love affair with vintage, her understanding of today’s fashion and lifestyle, her discerning and uncompromising eye, her innately good taste, her always meticulous attention to detail, her need to be creative, and a desire to transform fur? Anne Dee Goldin's new business venture of course.
I have known Anne Dee since the early 80's and she has been the subject of several of my articles and blogs. We initially met when I was fur editor at Harper's Bazaar and she worked at Goldin Feldman. She joined the company in 1980 (founded in 1909 by both of her grandfathers), thus launching the third generation of Goldin Feldman. Guided by her father, Fred Goldin, who instilled her with the ethic to never compromise quality, she learned the fur business from the bottom up - but she also brought a lot of her own ideas to the table and added a modernity to an age old industry. “It was a magical collaboration.”
|Anne Dee with my vintage furs|
Anne Dee's fresh approach and strong aesthetic vision attracted some of the world's most influential designers including Chloe, Anne Klein, Geoffrey Beene, and Narciso Rodriguez (not too shabby), to create their fur collections which were sold worldwide. She was also responsible for groundbreaking ad campaigns selecting "up and coming" advertising talents such as Peter Arnell, Neil Kraft and Doug Lloyd, now all legendary in their field. The ads were shot by famed photographers Arthur Elgort, Rico Puhlman, Herb Ritts and Patrick Demarchelier featuring the hottest models in the biz wearing the coolest furs with clever tongue-in-cheek copy written by Glenn O’Brien. In retrospect, Anne Dee takes pride in her ability to spot fresh talent and is honored to have had the opportunity to work with them.
|Marilyn trying on one of Anne Dee's remade furs & her own vintage leopard hood|
Enough of the name-dropping. In 2000, she launched her eponymous collection, Anne Dee Goldin New York which was hailed as a welcomed, much needed, modern vision and voice within the fur market. "It" was no longer about the "Fur Coat". Inspired by fashion from past decades her pieces: stoles, boleros, shrugs, capelets, cropped jackets, hats, scarves and (yes) coats made out of mink, fox, rabbit and her favorite, "farm animals": lamb, goat and calf, reflected her sense that fur was to become a part of a woman’s everyday wardrobe. Women in-the-know flocked to her showroom, fashion forward stores vied for exclusives in their areas and her furs were featured in fashion editorials in the top magazines.
Goldin decided to shutter that business in 2006 opting for a less hectic life. In response to her private clients’ requests, she immediately launched GoldinStyle: Fine Fur Storage and Services as the solution to maintaining and caring for her customers' furs. Right from the start Anne Dee was lured back into the business as her clients reached out to her for new furs items as well as to update (remodel) furs of their own. The person who had been on everyone’s "fur" lips had now become the best kept fur secret. Anne Dee was doing what she loved the most: the creative hands-on process and the pleasure of working one-on-one with the end wearer.
I had written an article about GoldinStyle about six years ago then Anne Dee and I kind of lost touch. When I recently received a postcard from GoldinStyle, I was intrigued and decided to check in with her. What I discovered, was that in the past few years, her "little business" as she refers to it (as opposed to the "Big Goldin Feldman") had taken on a life of its own. Solely by word of mouth or by those who did a ‘search’ to find her, the little business began to grow. The secret was "out of the (garment) bag".
What she explained as the causes of this growth spurt really caught my interest:
1. FUR IS HOT!: Of course I know that! It is in just about every designer’s 2013 collection in every possible conceived way, from fur covered shoes to full fur coats and everything in between. Women of all ages want it.
2. REUSE, RECYCLE, REPURPOSE: It’s created a trend. Women who have been holding on to their outdated fur coats want to figure out what to do with them or they hand them down to their daughters for them to do with what they want. By meeting with Anne Dee at her studio in the heart of the ‘fur market’, they are pleased to discover that they are able to (as Anne Dee phrases it) “turn what they don’t know what to do with into something they can’t live without.” It could be said that Goldin has gone Green. Her motto is "everything old is new again…or could be made to look new again". She delights in utilizing all of the old fur and offers the possibilities to create multiple pieces from one full length coat. For example: a vest, a bolero, a scarf. More left over? How about fur cuffs? Perhaps a cool-looking fur lined moto jacket or anorak, maybe a chic trench. What about reworking a basic mink into a fab horizontally striped ¾ sleeve topper? The options are endless; Anne Dee helps you decide.
3. ECONOMICS: Driven by global demand, the cost of fur skins have reached an all time high. Prices of new furs garments have skyrocketed. It is an enormous savings to utilize one’s own or pre-owned fur and turn into something brand ‘new’.
4. CAPTURING A NEW GENERATION: Anne Dee has noticed a full blown trend among young women, some with enough money to buy whatever they want, opting for vintage and used furs purchased on EBay, on vintage websites, at vintage shows, at thrift shops, at consignment stores, even at yard sales. Like herself, they love the thrill of the hunt and appreciate that they are getting something unique, individual, and almost guaranteed to be one of a kind. (They also like the ‘Green Factor’.) The downside is that many of these pieces, because of their age, are often in need of repair and require some tweaking to make them fit better and/or look more modern. Anne Dee believes that small changes can make big differences and with her astute eye (as I have witnessed her at work at her studio) can spot, for example, that by simply moving the closure higher or further over can change the whole look. She becomes a fur stylist as she hands her own belt to the client and shows the client how to ‘work-it’ on her own fur coat.
I HAVE MY 5TH REASON: Anne Dee Goldin is a talent. As she modestly says ‘I am good at what I do’.
Anne Dee has always seen herself as a ‘fashion merchant’ not as a ‘furrier’ and it is reflected in the product she creates. She approaches fur coats as outerwear, fur vests as sportswear, fur stoles as accessories. In essence, fur is the fabric, the medium. There is nothing staid or fussy, in its place a sense of playfulness (as if to say "don't take me too seriously"). "Modern yet Timeless" has always been her mantra. Fur-chic is what she delivers. For Anne Dee, it's all about the creative process and the high that comes from the ability to transform and create. Animated and enthusiastic, she truly comes alive when she is in her element. The product she creates is executed with impeccable workmanship and care, thanks to Georgia, a master craftswoman, who works alongside Anne Dee as her "hands".
|On the street or in this case on the subway, Anne Dee finds inspiration to|
make a custom cloth coat using the customer's mink as trim. This
style is a great solution when only part of a client's old coat is
Anne pays great attention to the finishing touches (Yes! God is in the details): distinctive linings, interior trim, natural buttons and nifty closures. It’s a fun process, done together with her clients (many of whom she has formed lasting friendships with) reflecting their personality and spirit. No two pieces are ever alike. Oh, and in just case you're wondering, it's never too early (or too late) to think about your furs. I put mine (all of them vintage) into storage just recently, and as luck would have it, right after doing so, it turned so unseasonably cold, I was sorry I did - LOL. It seems as if this (now past) winter would never end! What I was most excited about, other than getting them out of my apartment, was the prospect of patching them up.
|Vintage skunk vest & skunk skin|