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June 22, 2011


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Karan Feder

The Liberace costume collection has a few examples of monkey fur incorporated into stage costumes. Liberace asserted that the monkey fur had been re-purposed, although there is also a leopard skin tuxedo jacket in the collection....

Hana - Marmota

I noticed there's probably a mistake... you mention a cartoon from "1992" - I suppose that was to be 1892.
All historical, fashion and moral issues aside, I think I like the fur of colobus monkey much more when still atached to a live animal - I think that's a design no fashion can surpass. :-)


Out of all the things in costume we no longer use, monkey fur has always been the one that grossed me out the most.

FIDM Museum

Hana-Thanks for catching the typo! I did mean to type 1892, and it's now fixed in the post.

Karan-It's possible that the monkey fur in Liberace's collection was actually repurposed from other garments. I've seen this done sometimes in historic garments, as fur is/was such an expensive item. This is particularly true for the exotic furs like monkey, big cat, as it's illegal to import/buy/sell. I think it is also illegal to buy or sell even vintage exotic furs without a permit, though I'd have to double-check on this.

Kara-Synthetic monkey fur is probably a convincing substitute!

Diana Zlatanovski

Wow! Oddly enough (or actually maybe not odd at all) the silhouette of the jacket is slightly gorilla-esque.

Any chance they were just catching and shaving the monkeys? I'm going to convince myself that's how they acquired all of this fur...


I was told that shooting monkeys for this purpose was outlawed in 1928...thus considered an endangered species and illegal to sell since 1970.
I have a knee length one.


Fur is murder. How dare you use the excuse that it's been worn for thousands of years. YES to keep warm when we didn't have cotton, polyester, nylon etc. How dare you use that as an excuse to murder innocent animals who are used for NOTHING other than to make you look good, you don't eat the organs for survival, you just skin and wear. This is vulgar, wrong and anyone who wears a fur of any type should be skinned too and worn as a trophy, see how they might like it!


Fur is murder...to clean. This is a fascinating article about a fur I didn't know was used. I don't think however it would have been too popular up here in the north. We'll stick to our seal and wolf.


I wonder who Louise was referring to as 'you'? I hope it wasn't Rachel, the author of the post. I don't believe that she was in any way advocating the wearing of fur.
I suppose, on the grounds of supposed cruelty, that Louise is against wearing wool, too, which is a renewable insulating (for warmth) fiber that can, however, be harvested without requiring the death of an animal. Yet she advocates wearing plastics (polyester and nylon) that are created from petrochemicals (derived from coal or oil) that create their own problem of pollutants which can adversely affect animals and the environment. Also, those fibers don't readily decompose beyond usage once relegated to landfill. And by the way, cotton and plant fibers do not provide much in the way of warmth in cold climates.
I am in no way supportive of wearing fur either, so I am in agreement with Louise on that principle, but her aggressive accusations and assumptions and ill-informed opinions are offensive. It would be better for all if she would read blog posts more carefully and better inform herself before leaving such rude comments on future posts.


I have a full length coat beautiful in pretty good condition but seems to be pretty old its a lot of gorilla hair for the making of this coat. I rescue animals and I dont agree with the killing of anything at all , but I have no control only a voice and I can only save the animals that I can catch. Im not sure what to do with this beautiful coat.?.?

FIDM Museum

Hi Veronica,

If you feel uncomfortable keeping the coat, you could consider donating it - perhaps to a clothing charity or local cultural institution.


Thank you for answering my question about the type of fur this is. I've seen this style of fur coat recently in several movies from the 30's and while very dramatic, wondered what it was. Amazing to think that someone choose to kill these animals and make a coat for a "lady" to wear. Among other things it proves how gullible we can be when we follow those who tell us how to look and what to wear. Knowledge is power.

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