At the Libertine’s New York Fashion Week show, the nails of the models ruffled more feathers than the clothes.
This ‘trend’ has certainly got people talking and it did get me thinking about the relationships between skin and fur and the implications of ‘fashioning fur’.
The title quote is from Angela Carter’s ‘Wolf Alice’ tale from her Bloody Chamber collection, and I feel this unusual trend somewhat visualises the essence of Carter’s re-writing of Little Red Riding Hood. The fur has caused such a sensation online and amongst beauty bloggers, a large majority of which have a singular response: EWW. I find this fascinating because fur has become such a glamorous adornment (don’t get me wrong it is not without controversy regarding how it is procured) – but, in the fashion world at least, it is beautiful.
Why then the horror over its presence on this particular catwalk?
It is the placement of the fur that incites such disgust; upon the skin fur easily takes on the property of our own skin as boundary. When we step into the wolf we are strong, we are fierce, yet we can also be beautiful- even superior as fur is often an indicator of class, wealth, or status – even outside of Western Culture. Nail’s are essentially claws, albeit our ‘claws’ have been evolutionarily watered down as we have no need for them. Now nails can be a site of beauty and there are numerous ways to decorate them, but this practise is almost exclusively a feminine act. If you walked into Boots you would find polishes, false nails, files, buffers, tints, tips, stickers, decals, gems, overcoats and undercoats and all are marketed at women.
(I am not in any way saying guys do not/should not wear nail polish, just that they are often not the target audience!) #rockitjohnny
In placing the fur on the nails a site of beauty has been aligned with the beast. The nails have no vulnerability, unlike the skin, they have one purpose and even in masquerade they still evoke their one function: violence, survival, predator.
The She-Wolf has left her closet and regained her claws.