And what imaginative uses designer Consuelo Castiglioni has employed in the winter 2014 collection previewed Sunday, the fifth day of Milan Fashion Week.
Skirts and coats have wide fur hems, enriching the tailored and constructed looks. There also were sumptuous shaggy fur coat-dresses, one in glowing gold and grey blend. And there were fur-accented arm warmers and furry clutches.
But the real piece de resistence are the fur wraps: fur stoles that coil around the neck and fall down the front or crisscross over the shoulders to provide some cover for strapless dresses, and two-tone fur shawl collars that zip snugly up the back.
Though the collection had a firmly cold-weather feel — particularly expressed in the stiff materials like tweets and velvets that characterized the line — Marni challenged the season in many ways: Sleeveless coats. Shorts. Mini miniskirts. And flat, trekking sandals, worn with bare legs.
The silhouette was mostly modest, with skirts falling to the knee and below, but Castiglioni also teased at what she called "puritanical rigour," tucking transparent panels inside her pleated skirts.
Colours were, in keeping with Milan trends, on the urban harsh side, with blacks, greys and deep blue, offset by golden yellows and deep red.
The collection finished up with some fabrics printed with inviting wooded scenery, just the place to disappear into with Castiglioni's creations.
The designer offered a range of footwear choices. Besides the sandals, there also were simple flats or riding boots in calfskin or a heartier beaver fur for texture and warmth. Bags were larger than the norm this season, including big leather backpacks with padded straps for the serious traveller, and geometric duffels.
Hair was worn flat, sculpted in a gelled/wet look that would stand up to the cold rain mixed with snow that has dampened Milan this fashion season.