Removable fur lining – from Yves Salomon

Friday, December 27th 2019
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This fur lining for my vintage field jacket - originally mentioned in January - has finally seen some active wear in recent weeks, as the temperature has dropped. 

It was cut, made and fixed into the jacket by fur specialists Yves Salomon, using second-hand rabbit fur. 

The fact it was second hand, of course, is relevant to the discussions around fur of animal welfare, and sustainability. I would urge anyone that would like to discuss those points, to read our discussions of fur here

In fact, it’s worth reading that post and leaving comments there rather than on this article. Both to avoid repetition, and with the (always worthwhile, but equally challenging) aim of creating a useful, substantive discussion online.

The practical point to emphasise about fur, I think, is that it is both impressively luxurious and warm. 

The feel of rabbit or mink is the softest thing you’ll feel in any area of clothing. More than any cashmere or vicuna, woven or knitted.  

Equally impressive is quite how warm it is. It feels like having a mini-radiator inside your coat. 

The fur lining turns this pretty cold field jacket (cotton is crap in both the cold and the wet) into something practical in winter. 

Of course, a longer coat would be better (your top half is perhaps disproportionately warm), the sleeves are not lined, and the jacket is not waterproof. A wool or water-resistant outer layer would be better.

But any coat requires compromises if you want it to be adaptable across seasons.

The lining buttons into the field jacket, and can then be removed in warmer months. 

Like most linings, it functions best when the buttons are on the jacket, and the loops on the liner. 

This means you always have extra buttons inside the jacket, which could be annoying - but I didn’t find I noticed them when I wore it without the lining, in the Spring and Autumn. 

The work of Yves Salomon was very good - a large number of very precisely placed buttons, and elastic loops that are the perfect size.

We also deliberately set the fur back from the front edge (shown below) so the fur is rarely seen - this is about functionality, not about showing off, as fur often can be. 

Showing this field jacket with casual clothes is also useful, as it’s a nice appendix to the recent Weekend Wardrobe article

The utility jacket shown in that piece could equally have been a field jacket like this one, and would have been more useful in the Autumn/Winter. 

The jeans and shirt here are also quite similar: my heavy 18oz denim from Blackhorse Lane instead of the Levi’s in that article; and my striped PS Oxford shirt rather than the plain-blue one. 

The cardigan is from Drake’s - in charcoal lambswool. (I've changed the buttons myself, from a light to a dark horn.)

I know there are many more exciting colours of cardigan out there, but I do find greys to be incredibly useful and subtle. 

The ones I wear most are mid-grey and this charcoal. You would think navy would be worn a lot too, but this coarseness of wool is usually worn with jeans rather than flannels, and so suits grey rather than navy. 

I also tend to wear more dark-indigo jeans, which might be too close in colour to a navy cardigan.

Yves Salomon is a French fur manufacturer, which also recently launched its own designer brand. They have a shop on Conduit Street in London. 

The shop was deliberately bought for its existing fur workshop downstairs, and this is where bespoke pieces can be made, such as this lining - using either new fur or reworking old pieces that customers bring in. 

They also do linings for coats, or pieces to go on top of collars, if that’s your style. I know Whitcomb & Shaftesbury have used them a few times to make such things for customers. 

This lining cost £950, but prices vary considerably depending on the fur, the size of the piece, and the work required to affix it. 

You can read more about Yves Salomon here: 

“Yves Salomon: Re-using, remodelling fur”

And if you have any views on fur itself, they’re very welcome. Please contribute to this post: 

“Fur clothing: Ethics and sustainability”

Photography: Jamie Ferguson @jkf_man

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Chancellor

Supposing warmth were a paramount consideration, which would be preferred in an overcoat: the heaviest weight cashmere/alpaca/vicuña that can be found (say 33 oz) our a relatively lighter weight wool (maybe 18-20 oz) with a fur lining?

Anonymous

Hi Simon, another interesting article. Having read both this article and your previous piece on Yves Salomon, I don’t suppose you have mentioned anything on where does Yves sources their first-hand fur for bespoke commissions. Any insights on that? If yes, what’s your opinion on them? Cheers.

Eric

Hi Simon, fantastic idea with adding the longing to the M65. I’m curious to what size M65 jacket you went for?

Hugh

Thoughts on an astrakhan collar on a formal overcoat? Too much in this age?

Yosef777

Brilliant idea, although I cant help the thought that nicking granny’s fur stole along with my HB twill shirt would accomplish the same look : )

R Abbott

Simon, I agree with your views on fur, but I would still be very reluctant to wear it. The practical reality is that fur is toxic in many quarters and that it could expose the wearer to irrational acts of violence.

BespokeNYC

I could see how a full length mink coat might raise a few eyebrows these days but physical violence sounds a bit unlikely. Besides, look around any major city that gets cold in the winter and you’ll see plenty of people wearing fur trimmed parkas. Is a fur lined coat so different?

Ryotaro

Hi Simon, can you go into more detail on why it’s better to have buttons on the jacket and loops on the liner? I have an M-51 fishtail parka with the opposite configuration and didn’t notice any issues.

IL

Simon – what are your thoughts on using snap or even zippers for attaching the lining?

Anonymous

Wouldn’t an overcoat be more appropriate to line rather than your field jacket Simon? The field jacket seems quite casual and kind of clashes with the luxury of the fur.

How much space should the inside your jacket/overcoat have to get it properly lined? Would you rather arrange a lining for a bespoke overcoat (made to have extra room) or an existing waterproof olive technical jacket (sort of like this)?

Abigail Aldridge

I am sorry, I am against wearing dead rabbits no matter how euphemistically presented. Abigail Aldridge

Abigail Aldridge

Dear Simon, thank you for your gracious reply with a question. In general, yes. Still working on my diet, no meat for many years, still eating fish, that’s next to go (pescatarian sounds so annoying). I do think about rabbit fur a lot, I have two rescued house rabbits who are intelligent and enchanting. And I am a milliner who has gone fur free about 5 years ago. No more fur felt, which sadly takes a toll of five rabbits for each snazzy fedora etc., unless it’s wool felt. I am not an activist but I am taking a stand as part of the bigger cultural shift and as an animal lover.

Emerging Genius

Given the history and original military purpose of the jacket, the fur is an interesting idea, but it doesn’t really work.

Interesting, but not successful.

S

Hi Simon,

I was looking for a navy overcoat with invisible fur lining and a Karakul collar as worn by King Edward VIII (https://www.storytrender.com/57753/regal-english-fur-lined-coat-fit-for-a-king-sells-for-5000-because-it-was-worn-by-abdicating-royal-king-edward-viii-who-gave-up-his-title-for-love/)

Any idea on the weave, fabric or fur used for this coat?

By the way are these made RTW today? Which bespoke tailors have experience cutting these kind of coats?

Charles

Thank you for sharing this. What a stunning coat ! I’m surprised it was auctioned for “only” $5000.

Jason

Simon,
Do you think Yves Salomon could make a Rakoon Hat in the Davy Crockett style ?
I’m looking for something warm for hunting trips.
Jason
Jason

Dr Peter

Very interesting post, Simon. I’m glad you feel comfortable with the lovely rabbit-fur lining, even with a cost close to GBP 1000. I’m a tad surprised at the need, however. Here’s why.

I own four very fine, vintage US Army issue field jackets: Two are Korean War vintage M-51s with shirt-style collars, and two are Vietnam War vintage M-65s with rounded collars, of the type featured in your post. All four are American made and original issue jackets (one unused old stock), not reproductions. I have worn all of them at various points during Wisconsin winters, which, I daresay, are far more severe than most London winters. These jackets are quite warm when layered over a cotton/merino sweater of medium thickness, itself worn over a shirt or T-shirt. There is no need of a lining for my comfort, although I believe I possess an army-issue lining for at least one of these jackets.

Of course, people differ in their sensitivity to the cold. It could be that, having lived in Wisconsin and the northern US for more than half of my life, I have become adapted to the harsh winters — they are a decent trade-off with the beautiful, temperate summers and gorgeous autumns. I must add, though, that the first 25 years of my life were spent in very tropical, often sweltering climes — British Malaya and southern India.

Anyway, I am glad you had the lining made for your M-65. It does look splendid, especially against the vintage surface of the olive-drab jacket. I do love vintage jackets and vintage clothes in general — their cut, quality and durability are often unsurpassed by anything new. I have a fairly substantial collection of vintage clothes, and am always on the lookout for interesting pieces.

Anonymous

Abigail’s comment is fairly stated – your rejoinder about being vegetarian shifts the moral responsibility back but really it should begin with the fur supplier (albeit difficult if ‘recycled’). Society’s main objection is using fur as a primary not secondary (to meat supply) function of the killing of the animal. If greater transparency to source and supply (if a meat bi-product) were given it might have a more morally acceptable function. The problem is the opaque supply chain – partly due to trad. fur farming practices being so dubious. However with many animal species under environmental pressure I think acceptance of the practice continues to decline. Re- use is often rejected as it continues to normalise a practice that is distasteful to many for the reasons stated above.

BespokeNYC

Why is it more acceptable if the primary use is meat supply? If a rabbit is killed for its fur, but the meat is also eaten, what’s the difference?

Ben

Sleeveless wool cardigans seem geriatric and pedantic to me, not at all consistent with the militaristic, outdoorsy connotation of the field jacket. And the sleeves on that jacket are quite wide. I know Simon has a thing against narrow sleeves, but those just look sloppy to me.

I’d have just gone with a chunky crew-neck or roll-neck sweater or, if the jacket is indeed as warm as reported, a t-shirt. Field jackets are so omnipresent currently that there seems no point in buying vintage unless specifically for the discount (certainly not the case here) or parachutesque fit. I’d probably also pass on the bunny.

Barry Kearney-Luc

It might be interesting for readers to see photos of the lining by itself and another of the all the buttons that were added to the jacket just to show how much work was required.

Keith Taylor

“The fur lining turns this pretty cold field jacket (cotton is crap in both the cold and the wet) into something practical in winter.”

You’re right, but I’d argue that it’s not quite as cut and dried as ‘cotton is crap in the cold’ because it overlooks the one big advantage cotton has when it comes in the thickness you’d find in a field jacket: wind resistance.

Yesterday in Ulaanbaatar the temperature plummeted to -40C, with wind chill down to -47C. It’s parky, to put it mildly. I don’t wear any kind of synthetic technical fabrics as I don’t like the look of them, so most of my winter coats are wool, but over the last few weeks I’ve found myself gravitating towards a vintage cotton trench coat with a zip-out Thinsulate layer (on top of the usual shirt and thick lambswool sweater). When I bought my two trench coats I expected them to be of use only in the spring and autumn, but I’ve found that a layer of cotton over my clothes provides a protective shell over everything else. At -40C the wind cuts right through the looser weave of a wool overcoat, stealing away your warmth (and at that temperature you *really* feel it), but the trench coat keeps everything locked inside.

Of course Mongolia is an arid country so I don’t have to contend with moist air. In A wet environment cotton would lose its advantage, but when it’s cold and dry you could happily pop to the shops in a cotton field jacket without feeling the bite as long as you had your fur lining or a warm sweater.

Daniel

Hi Simon. Your line regarding the flexibility of a grey cardigan stood out. I have fair colouring and although I have navy and grey cardigans it’s the latter that I invariably end up wearing underneath a jacket. Navy is fine but it tends to draw the eye and as you say with dark blue jeans can look a bit too matchy.

P.F.

Dear Simon,

Lovely post as always. Very interesting points regarding the attachment of the lining. I have a rabbit fur lining from a Mackintosh raincoat with the buttons on the liner and the loops at the coat inner side. Do you think that it would be possible to use the same liner for a shooter jacket. Obviously, the loops are not there and should somehow be attached to the jacket.
Interested in your thoughts. Do you think that this is something your local tailor can do or should be taken to a specialist like Salomon?

Have a lovely New Year!

Christopher

Fantastic idea! Cause I cant afford the fur tailored lining, despite the fact of fur, I try to adopt your idea: my intention is to use Barbourˋs warm removable lining and bring it with the field jacket to a tailor. I guess he will be able to stitch loops on the lining and buttons in the jacket…
It will be far away from your tailored high end solution, but I guess it could work.

Watching from the Sidelines

If it wasn’t for the placement of the decimal point, I’d be commissioning one of those to be rid of the polyester fur in my old Solway Zipper.

YK

What shoes are you wearing here Simon?

Dickie

Hi Simon,

I got a vintage M65 and would like to turn it into a MZ65 as Marco Zamblado. Do you know where could I get the bespoke fur interior liner for my jacket? Thank you.

Dickie

Yes. Whom should I contact for the bespoke fur lining ? It seems to be a brand which sells other stuff.

Tony Hodges

Hi Simon – have you considered applying some kind of waterproofing treatment to this jacket (or any other cotton ones)?

I’ve got a similar jacket that I’ve often wished was at least a little waterproof, and I’ve been tossing up whether I should wax it or use one of those Nikwax washes.

It feels like the kind of at-home adaptation that should be quite manageable, but the only places I can find online that discuss the outcomes tend to be technical hiking blogs rather than more style oriented ones.