For Rundholz fans seeking comfort in the winter, what could be cosier than wrapping up in the stuff of the original teddy bear? Steiff teddies, first manufactured in Germany in 1902, continue to fetch huge prices at auction among enthusiasts – the record stands at £110,000. But their impact on the world of fashion has, until now, been limited.
While designers including the late Karl Lagerfeld are well-known Steiff collectors – Miuccia Prada is also a long-time fan – the fabric has become a fashion must-have.
Rundholz designer, Carlston Rundholz has collaborated with Steiff this season to produce the fabulous faux fur Mainline coats. Available at Arabella in the colours of the season: Candy, Kiss and Toffee.
Bernhard Wanning, chief executive of Steiff Schulte, agrees that quality is fundamental to the fabric’s popularity. “Our furs are known as ‘noble fibres’ [a term that covers mohair, alpaca and cashmere] and as such are priced at the highest end of the market. You can instantly spot the difference between a polyester fur and our natural woven furs,” he says.
Another clear attraction to the use of Steiff fabric is that it's an ideal alternative to real fur. The Rundholz activist enjoys the fashionable alternative to animal skin.
The association with childhood is also part of the fabric’s appeal. For us at Arabella, the connection to childhood is key. For our Christmas window this year we wanted to explore the idea of comfort - not in the sense of 'comfortable', but in the sense of 'comforting'. We wanted to bring the magic of our childhood Christmases back to life.
Summing up the attraction, Alexander Schönfeld, Steiff’s head of strategic marketing and design, says: “I suppose the aim of every fashion collection is to tell a story.” And with real teddy bear fabric, telling that story is a picnic.