Vintage 1960s 70s wool shearling mouton fur coat trim Dr Zhivago princess meets space age spy silver buttons asymmetric side breasted
A sensational 1960s vintage coat that is somewhat of an enigma: no label, but clearly an amazing & original 1960s piece which brings together the traditional in terms of style & fabric, (veryAnna Karenina Dr Zhivago princess style) with the 1960s version of the space age: silver disc buttons, vinyl & silver buckle reminiscent of Pierre Cardin or Courreges of the time.
There is a disc that dangles from the buckle that creates a 'faux' button on the front of the shearling trim that runs down the side of the coat where it fastens. In fact, all the silver buttons are purely decorative: the coat actually has other buttons beneath the trim that actually fasten the coat.
So dating it is also tricky: while the lengths were up and down from mini to maxi, midi lengths were always available but peaked in 1965 and 1971. So it's between these dates, unlikely to be either, but let's try and narrow it down. Side fastening asymmetric coats came in big time in 1969/1970...so we think perhaps then.
The fur trim was a feature of coats from Lilli Ann designs early 1960s in particular, though they tended to use plush fox or 'fluffy' sheepskin. French New Wave cinema in particular Anna Karina was often styled in the more 'Mod' interpretation of the Princess coat; think Alphaville and Vivre Sa Vie early to mid 1960s. They weren't called Princess coats, and they certainly weren't called 'Penny Lane' coats: this is an anachronism that is owed to urban myth of the 2000 movie about a groupie 'Almost Famous'. But also while the 1965 movie Dr Zhivago often gets credit for the look of the Russian Princess or cossack coat, there's nothing really like that in the movie; and again it's easy to confuse the 2012 Keira Knightley Anna KarENINA movie which did have such Imperial Russian style coats. Sheepskin and fur trim suede were available in real life Eastern Europe of course, and also connected with street style and available in Carnaby street mid 1960s and very much part of the Mod scene. Mid to late 1960s the 'Afghan' or 'Yak' styles: more 'hippy' 'ethnic' looking from Kabul to start with, began to appear places like Carnaby St, and some styles were a blend of these influences.
But this particular coat, is certainly not a 'hippy' look at all. Those silver disc buttons and vinyl belt, tight 'Mod' tailoring, very later 1960s Cardin etc. So we are thinking c 1969-1970. This was the year of the moon landings; and very forward looking. At the time, nobody knew for sure what they' encounter as the Saturn V Apollo 11 mission blasted off. Were there aliens out there? a 1969 huge cult tv series of the time by Gerry Anderson envisaged a future 1980 where aliens in rotating silver disc decorated ships visited Earth on a mission to steal human body organs, and the the SHADO base on the Moon, (staffed by very cool purple haired silver suit wearing girls) was the first line of defence as this was kept secret form humanity.
Also in 1969 another tv series 'The Champions' a sci fi with secret agents with super powers due to a mysterious encounter in the Himalayas , was also airing; and Alexandra Bastedo wore a side fastening asymmetric classic look 1960s suit with short 'funnel' spacesuit neckline. That side fastening coats & jackets were big in 1968-70, and we found a coat very similar to ours in a Ladies fashion catalogue but without the buttons from that year. All very 'sixties secret agent' chic....
So what else was happening 1969 in popular culture? Well, The movie 'The Italian Job' was released, which immortalized the mini car. Innocenti was producing the mini 1969 including in brown. You always know when brown is a big colour in ladies fashion because it's the only time they do cars in brown! Sure enough, brown was one of the 'in' colours 1969-1970 season, along with sky blue, white, primrose yellow & burnt orange which all go nicely with brown, and purple, which doesn't of course. Dior did some fabulous mid length furs 1969-70 too, in natural browns, with shiny metal buckles.
The fabric of the coat is a fine wool twill mix possibly with an element of synthetic but has some coarse but fine fibre content I think likely mohair.
So this coat while very chic and smart, is also pretty 'Far Out' ... but we don't think we are too far
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