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Lady Violette

The Romantic Lifestyle

The Restoration Process of a Vintage Purple Cross Mink Fur Trimmed Coat Explained

March 10th, 2024 by violette

This coat was made in the early 1960s and the design has to have been inspired by historical garments such as royal robes made for kings, queens and high ranking clergymen in olden times that were made of purple cloth trimmed in white winter ermine fur with black tips on the tails.

In a future post I will explain the origin and complex ancient process of making purple dye and dying.

This coat is a textured purple wool and it is lined in cranberry colored satin acetate. The fur trim of creamy white accented with black fur is cross mink. My experienced professional furrier Rene Vogel explained that cross mink is achieved by breeding two colors of mink together – in this case a natural white mink and a natural black mink which yields a creamy white mink with black mottled sections such as you see here. This coloration of mink is not dyed. It occurs naturally when the two colors of mink animals are crossbred. There are many different colors of cross mink: black on white, brown on white, gray on white, black on grey, delicate cream with the lightest brown called pearl cross mink, etc. I’ve seen women wearing some elegant full coats made of various colors of cross mink but I did not really know how the colors were achieved until I asked Rene to explain it to me.

I think the designer of this coat was inspired by a Medieval queens elegant long purple robes trimmed in ermine fur and fastened with real jeweled amethyst buttons. The coat has eight domed purple buttons set with four purple Swarovski crystals each positioned two by two on either side of the cross mink fur band extending down the front. These fasten with loop buttonholes made of the purple wool fabric. I include a closeup picture below to help you see these buttoning loops around the buttons. They are a bit hard to see because the coat is a dark color and they are partially covered by the fur – so they are subtle but a very nice detail to the styling of the coat and easy to button. The crystal stones in the buttons are also subtle but they catch the light and sparkle brightly when you see the coat in person.

The coat was made by Joymoor Fashions styled by Molle and sports a lovely heavy vintage satin designer label. When I acquired this coat it was in excellent condition except that the original thread used to sew it together and apply the covered snaps, anchor the buttons and stitch the fur trim to the wool coat had begun to deteriorate. This is a common issue with vintage clothing because it was assembled with either silk or cotton thread which decomposes over time. The coat was also in need of professional cleaning as it had gotten dusty hanging in a closet for many years without being used. In order to clean these antique fur trimmed coats the fur portions have to be removed so the wool cloth coat can be dry cleaned and the fur trim can be cleaned separately by the furrier method in a special fur cleaning machine. Vintage coats with fur trim cannot be cleaned without removing the fur trim and cleaning it separately. After cleaning the cloth and the fur portions separately, using the proper different processes for each one, the fur trim and the fur collar have to be sewed back onto the coat. This is harder to do than it sounds.

About 20 years ago, before I found Rene Vogel, I had a fur collar removed and had the vintage yellow wool coat it was on dry cleaned. The dry cleaner I went to had an excellent reputation and had two alteration ladies on staff. They sent the fur collar out to a fur cleaning service. It came back clean and the alterations ladies tried to re-attach the collar to the coat. They tried and tried but could not get it right. It was a frustrating situation so I had to give up on re-attaching the collar to that coat. Two years later I was discussing this problem with someone who told me about Rene Vogel. She had met him years before when he worked for I. Magnin and successfully shortened a fur coat for her. She told me he did an excellent job, but I. Magnin had closed many years ago and she had no idea where to find him now! Armed with his name and this recommendation I began searching for Rene. I was teaching ballet classes in the Highlands in Seattle and it turned out that a grandmother of one of my students sent her furs to fur storage at Leather Care in Seattle every summer. She suggested I call Leather Care and ask if they knew how to locate Rene Vogel. I did this and, luckily, they had his phone number and gave it to me. He was located in Bothell, Washington, and agreed to meet me to look at my collarless coat project. He affixed the fur collar on that vintage yellow wool coat right away and I then took him a big pile of furs that needed identifying, cleaning and various repairs. Voila! I had found the man I needed! I had begun selling vintage clothing online and I also had some unusual antique fur pieces I was not able to identify.

It is actually quite difficult to reposition the fur trim and the fur collar exactly correctly and sew them on securely in the original position at the correct angles so that the coat looks the way it was originally made. The dual process of cleaning the cloth coat and the fur portions, then reattaching the fur collar and trim and resewing the buttons onto the coat with shanks so they do not pull incorrectly on the cloth when the coat is buttoned is best done by a professional furrier. It is a time consuming process that must be done completely by hand. It takes an experienced craftsman or woman several hours to do properly. Rene Vogel and his wife Denise work as a team in his business Furs by Rene. Denise has over 45 years experience re-assembling and sewing fur and fur trimmed coats similar to this one back together. I am a good seamstress myself and I have tried to sew the fur collars back on other coats after cleaning them but it was challenging and I could not get it right! The coats are heavy wool and it is awkward and challenging to get the fur collars positioned just right – especially when trying it on yourself!

It is far easier to have a professional furrier position the collar on you while you try it on! Sewing fur onto heavy wool is also challenging and has to be done with a special new synthetic thread they did not have back in the days when these coats were originally created. The new threads will not deteriorate in the future as the original ones did. If your vintage fur coat, jacket or stole needs fur hooks and eyes replaced or added they can do a professional job hiding the mechanism in the fur hairs so it is invisible but holds the coat closed. They will use the right types of vintage sewing notions as well. I have recently tried to buy fur hooks and silk covered snaps myself at local sewing supply shops and could not locate them. I was told they are no longer available! They were also not available online. My personal standards are very high and I will not put anything in my shop unless it is clean, restored and ready to wear.

When I acquire new to me vintage furs that need work such as this one I take them to my personal professional furrier Rene Vogel to have types of fur accurately identified and get cleaning and repair projects like this one done properly. I have been using him now for over 15 years and highly recommend him for all fur services.

You can reach Swiss furrier Rene Vogel via email  Rene’ Vogel <> or by phone at (425)322-9638 to schedule appointments for all your fur related needs. Rene founded his business, Furs by René in 1982. He is a second-generation furrier from Switzerland who was trained in Europe and formerly ran the Fur Salons in Nordstrom and Frederick & Nelson in Seattle, Washington. He also did custom fur work for I Magnin & Co. in Seattle when real furs were in their fashion heyday. He and his wife, Denise, are experts in bringing pre-owned vintage furs back to life. They specialize in reusing and repurposing of old furs by cleaning and repairing them and, if necessary, altering, sewing, refinishing, and remodeling them. They can, of course, also work with new furs and even make a new coat or fur accessory from scratch. The Vogels now live and work in Snohomish, Washington 10 months of the year. The other 2 months of each year they spend at their family home in Switzerland.

I want to make it clear to my readers that I chose to write about Rene Vogel to share information I have learned from him about furs and to provide them access to him as a reliable professional furrier should they wish to find one. Rene is not paying me to write about him.

Rare and beautiful historic clothing and accessories are for sale in my online shops. If you see something on this blog that you are interested in buying, but do not find it for sale in my shops message me on Etsy or Ebay and I will get back to you about availability. I check messages daily and can always prepare a special listing for you if you do not find it already listed in the shops. Some vintage furs and fur trimmed items are currently listed for sale in my shops and others will be listed as they are ready to sell. Items are always in process of being readied for listing so all inventory is not already listed and photographed. Feel free to message me on Ebay or Etsy if you are seeking something in particular as I may have it or be able to find it for you. There are contact seller buttons on all listings in the stores which allow you to write me messages.

Ebay: ladyviolettedecourcy

Etsy: LadyVioletteBoutique

Poshmark: cocoviolette 

Fashion Conservatory: Lady Violette Boutique


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