Bette Davis and a legacy in fur

Picture two willowy ladies of indeterminate age, although judging from their carefully dyed hair, and the fact they are wearing calf length mink coats we could probably safely say they were between the ages of 75 and 85. An age when you can unrepentantly rock any look you like.

I saw them in Palm Springs exiting a restaurant over the holidays.

I have a mink coat. It lives in my closet. I have it professionally cleaned and packed every year and then it goes on to live its long life in storage. It was my mother’s. Look, I don’t wear it because I don’t think it ever gets cold enough in Southern California to wrap myself in pelts, but if I lived in Chicago I sure as hell would. I’m not a vegan, I wear leather shoes, hence…

My mother, who was born in Chicago, told me there was nothing on earth as warm as fur and when I went to college in the frigid North East she gave me the coat she wore in college, it was mouton lamb and blizzard worthy.

Where am I going with this? It seems I feel compelled to tell you why I associate fur coats with a feeling of security, family and warmth – and why I treasure a garment I’ll never wear.

bette davis daughter gary merrill

Gary Merrill, Barbara Sherry Davis (a happy looking kid, who later wrote a virulent biography of her mother. Mother-daughter relationships can be complex, yes?) , and Bette Davis – 1950

1950 all about eve premiere

Bette Davis, accompanied to the premiere of “All About Eve” by her mother – 1950

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  1. January 29, 2013

    Bette looks genuinely happy in these photos. Nice.

    • January 29, 2013

      I have a friend who worked with Miss Davis on “The Whales of August” – she said Bette was “a pistol” and the cast of the film the most accomplished she had ever had the pleasure of being associated with. She left the business shortly after, maybe nothing could compare…

  2. January 29, 2013

    I know where you would wear your mink. When you come some summer (our 2nd winter) to visit in San Francisco!

    • January 30, 2013

      I’ll be wearing a parka and long johns!

  3. October 7, 2014

    I like how you select an actor of the day and then provide all kinds of interesting anecdotes. 🙂

  4. October 11, 2014

    I have a mink stole and matching hat – and I do wear them! I wear them (with long gloves) whenever there’s a classic film special at the theater (wore it to see “Casablanca” a while back), when we go to hear the Glenn Miller Orchestra … and I’m going to wear them again in November when we go to hear the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra! Oh, if I were you I’d find some reason to wear that coat at least once a year. I feel completely different – vibrant – when I wear vintage clothing – especially dressy items.

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