Coonskin Hats: Fur Real?

[Trendzilla] The Davy Crockett look is supposedly cool? Okay, who do I punch?

When’s the last time a fashion trend made you want to punch someone? For me, it was when Marc Jacobs debuted his spring/summer 2010 Louis Vuitton collection—Jacobs’ Sweet Tarts-hued, ombre-gradient messenger bags each featured a dyed, authentic, dangling fox-tail charm, colored to match each bag to perfection.

That’s a lot of dead foxes. And a lot of dead foxes who died for an ugly trend, at that.

While I’m hardly ever extremely vocal about my personal anti-fur-but-I-won’t-jam-it-down-your-throat-either stance, I found that to be-way excessive and creepy . . . intact fox body part and all. With the advancements in synthetics these days, the same look can just be so easily faked—and for way less; each fox tail costs $1,150 on top of the price of the Louis Vuitton bags—so I just hoped the frivolous trend wouldn’t catch on.

But it did. At least, on the East Coast. Many flavor-maker hipster boutiques started selling their own authentic fox tails, including such favorites as Oak (oaknyc.com), which still sells, among its avant-garde getups, black fox-tail keychains for $72. The tails are meant to stream from purses, bag straps or even belt loops.

The fact the trend even caught on speaks to the somewhat strange (in principal) hipster-woodsman look that has been en vogue for some four or five years now: lumberjack flannels, dark denim, rugged boots, thick beards, knitted beanies. It actually looks fine, many people can pull it off, and I’m not complaining.

But here’s one hint it might’ve just gone terribly awry: Coonskin hats are in style. Yes, as in Davy Crockett. Pioneer headgear. A recent sojourn to New York City and Brooklyn revealed coonskin hats delicately balanced atop the heads of hipsters on the subway, on boutique mannequins, on the fucking street—eeeeeeveeerywheeeere.

Similes fail: It was as ridiculous as . . . a coonskin hat.

I thought it was just me until even Gawker featured a video-laden exposé (of sorts) on the trend. Disturbing.

Coonskin hats are of Native American origin (another “look” the hipsters have appropriated as their own, it must be noted), and then were picked up by American frontiersmen. In the ’50s, a coonskin-hat craze swept the United States when Disney started airing episodes featuring Fess Parker as Davy Crockett on their television program called Disneyland. The fad mostly affected young boys.

Anyway, the good news is that $25 Davy Crockett hat you bought at Disneyland when you were 8 is supposedly cool again. The bad news is that $25 Davy Crockett hat you bought at Disneyland when you were 8 is supposedly cool again.

vchang@ocweekly.com


This column appeared in print as "Send Me Dead Foxes Every Mornin’."

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