Vintage 1940s 1950s phantom beaver sheared fur coat ideal forties retro events etc eg Goodwood Revival movie style film noir with shoulder pads.
This is a fabulous phantom beaver coat dating likely from the early 1950s though has a 1940s style, from Faulkes of Edgbaston Birmingham.
Phantom beaver is sheared beaver which has variation of tome in the pelts so when put together has almost spectral ethereal quality when it catches the light. They are especially at their best from the back, on a coat that has a little swing, especially from those 1940s shoulders.
It is suitable for a size UK 10- 12 though a smaller size will get away with it as that swing will be more amplified and the shoulders carry it.
Sheared beaver, this one no exception, is very, very soft to the touch almost like touching butter.
Phantom beaver in it's undyed state ranges from very pale beige brown with darker tones, to very dark almost bluish grey with lighter tones. This one is between the two tonally though toward the paler, and of a definite brown, though it varies in the light. The unique 'ombre' is natural variation in pelt.
Beaver is generally the produce of Canada and often indigenous peoples like the Cree harvest to this day. The meat of beaver is also eaten, and it cannot be farmed as it won't breed if it cannot dam.
Anyway, this one is over fifty years old. Bearing that in mind, it is not a coat for everyday wear. I have found no structural damage on the coat but it needs to be respected and looked after; worn perhaps for special occasions when you want some 1940s glamour over a period suit or dress. For eg Goodwood Revival or those 1940s events at train stations or vintage car events in the UK, or perhaps a smart Hotel 1940s murder mystery evening.
Phantom beaver in its day during the 40s and 50s was very expensive, a luxury fur, often used in movies to convey mystery of the principal character. So I have used two egs in the shoot edits and video.
First is 'Sherlock Holmes and the woman in Green" starring Basil Rathbone, and Hillary Brooke as the dangerous and mysterious hypnotist femme fatale that Holmes is transfixed (or pretends to be). A classic film noir as the Rathbone Holmes movies all are, they are set in the 1940s not Victorian/Edwardian times. On meeting her at a hypnotist demonstration where Watson is amusingly put under, he invited her for cocktails at 'Pembroke House'.... watch it's a great movie. Public Domain amazingly so free to watch online. So he explains over cocktails and cigarettes how he witnessed a victim with a 'charming lady' with him, he was lighting her cigarette, but Holmes only saw her from the back. And it's the back of a sheared beaver where that luxurious ethereal quality is. Probably why the fur was chosen for the movie, as well as its mesmerizing look, made in 1945. And very similar in style to the one we show here, but hers is darker.
Second movie, not a noir despite its title - in quite spectacular colour actually - is 'Lady in the Dark' 1944. A musical, it nonetheless has undercurrent themes of repressed confused and transient sexuality. And its the wardrobe - designed by Edith Head - is jaw dropping: every person with a love of vintage glamour and fashion will love. And it is the wardrobe that has dramatic symbolism. Ginger Rogers is shown caged and on trial in a surreal piece , in a fur dress and bolero, which when removed has sparkling red. The fur and red - well watch if you don't believe me - has obvious sexual symbolism. In fact the movie features mention of the word 'sex' one of the first times in Hollywood cinema after 'code'. Ray Milland says rage is a substitute for sex. Ginger Rogers plays Liza Elliott a fashion magazine editor confused about three potential lovers yet somehow none are right for her, so she seeks help from a psychiatrist. So there is a 'real life' scene where she arrives at the office and floats down a long corridor looking confused and weary... wearing the phantom beaver shot from behind. The symbolism of the 'quantum' undefined look & then reputation of phantom beaver a perfect choice for her not really knowing where she is re her suitors. Another great looking movie you need to watch just for the fashion alone! So many fabulous forties outfits and in colour!
So anyway, in both movies the phantom beaver coat is a 'character' if you like.
At the time they were the height of glamour an sophistication; perhaps more so than mink in some respects. Much imitated because of its status and look, they could never really get the same effect on sheared mouton or faux coats, though you see lots around. Not so phantom beaver which
because of the price tag were not for mass markets.
So no tears or flaws, but just remember this doesn't look brand new, possibly some oxidization has changed the colour over time, and will require you being careful with it as its of that age where they will start to deteriorate rapidly if you give them hard wear. This is reflected in the price if it was in immaculate condition would be well over a thousand or two. But it's in very good condition give the age. Needs to be bought by a 1940s or 50s enthusiast who will appreciate the 'legend' of phantom beaver and elegant style from those fab shoulders, and the seductive power. Cocktails at Pembroke House? A lovely wearable historical piece for those special vintage occasions
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