From Past to Present: Marc Kaufman Furs NY : “The Best Furs on Earth” since 1910

From Past to Present: Marc Kaufman Furs NY : “The Best Furs on Earth” since 1910

Look like a celebrity in this Tortoise Shell Hooded Mink Stroller from Marc Kaufman Furs’ collection

“What Becomes a Legend Most?”

THE BRAND HISTORY OF BLACKGLAMA MINK

“Editorial Review of the Brand History of Blackglama.”
Nothing in the world communicates luxury and status the way fur does. While some – most famously, Anita Loos – believe that “diamonds are a girl’s best friend,” the truth is, if you really want to tell the world “I’ve arrived,” you can’t go wrong with mink. And if you want to express your appreciation of quality with unquestioned elegance, nothing speaks with greater eloquence than Blackglama®.
What is it about Blackglama mink that makes it different from other mink? And how is it that everyone knows Blackglama mink is the fi nest in the world? Maybe the best place to start is with the question, “what is Blackglama?” Although the brand and what it represents – unsurpassed quality – are extremely well-known, there are some consumers who don’t realize that Blackglama refers to the mink – as opposed to the designer or manufacturer – and that a Blackglama mink is naturally dark in color and not dyed Black. Once it is understood what Blackglama mink is, we can then ask how did this iconic label come into existence?

 

A MARKETING “LEGEND” IS CONCEIVED

1968 was a “happening” time in the parlance of the age, and new marketing concepts were constantly being conceived. Aside from truly momentous world events, American culture was experiencing a seismic shift. Art, fi lm, literature, fashion, media and advertising – all were being shaped by new forces.
To the members of the Great Lakes Mink Association (GLMA) these turbulent times seemed a world away. Working long hours on farms throughout the upper Midwest, their focus was on promoting dark mink. Little did they know that they would be at the cusp of a revolutionary new marketing campaign.
Through genetic management, their friendly competitors at the Mutation Mink Breeders Association, known as EMBA, had developed colored minks “if you want to express your appreciation of quality with unquestioned elegance, nothing speaks with greater eloquence than Blackglama®.”– violet, sapphire, pastel – and each time they came out with a new color, they announced it with a splashy ad. GLMA members wanted to make sure the public knew about dark mink and some thought changing their advertising could accomplish this goal. This notion, paired with ambition and enthusiasm, helped to establish the groundwork for advertising history.

GLMA hired a small New York agency headed by the respected copywriter Jane Trahey. Charged with creating recognition for the fur itself, Trahey suggested giving it the brand name Blackglama, and the Board approved.

Trahey then moved on to the advertising. According to Peter Rogers, account manager at the agency, one of the fi rst missions was to really make the product jump off the page at the consumer. To do this, the campaign needed something special that would be memorable in the mind of the consumer. Rogers put it simply in his 1979 book about the campaign entitled “What Becomes a Legend Most?” when he said “the luster of the fur doesn’t show up in a photograph, so Jane thought up a gimmick.”

The “gimmick” was to make Blackglama synonymous with the glamour of universally recognized and admired people. The means was brilliantly simple: a black-and-white photograph of a wellknown woman wearing a Blackglama coat shot against a seamless gray backdrop. A straightforward tagline tied it all together.

 

The world took notice for a variety of reasons. Reputable names such as Judy Garland, Bette Davis, Barbra Streisand and Lauren Bacall were featured in the fi rst year alone. The photographer was the renowned Richard Avedon. Bringing it all together was the straightforward and now immortal tagline “What Becomes a Legend Most?”“The effect was immediate and powerful,” wrote Erla Zwingle in Rogers’ book. Within two years, “Blackglama was considered the most prestigious black ranch mink in the world. Soon after the series began, stores like Bergdorf Goodman were selling garments that carried the Blackglama tag, and customers were asking for it by name.”From 1968 to 1994, when the campaign went on hiatus, the “Legends” included luminaries from Hollywood, Broadway, Motown, Las Vegas, La Scala, the Met and beyond. Legends had won Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and Tonys. One was a renowned magazine editor, another a celebrated playwright. Rogers called them “the most illustrious list of names ever brought together for commercial purposes.”No less than Advertising Age, “the bible of the ad world,” counted “What Becomes a Legend Most” among the Top 100 ad campaigns of the 20th century (number 73, to be exact). And no less an arbiter of the intersection of culture and celebrity than Andy Warhol found “What Becomes a Legend Most” so compelling that he featured the Judy Garland ad in a limited series of screen prints in 1985. Fast forward to 2001: At the time, American Legend was working tury (number 73, to be exact). And no less an arbiter of the intersection of culture and celebrity than Andy Warhol found “What Becomes a Legend Most” so compelling that he featured the Judy Garland ad in a limited series of screen prints in 1985.
Fast forward to 2001: At the time, American Legend was working with Laspato DeCaro, an ad agency known for its work in fashion. This relationship led to American Legend approaching the agency about reinventing the Blackglama campaign.

 

“Very few campaigns can be referred to as iconic, but ‘What Becomes a Legend Most’ truly can be,” said Charles DeCaro. “The purity and integrity of the campaign make it iconic.”
Despite its renowned position, everyone agreed the campaign needed to change. “When we took over, we knew we wanted to show fur as it is today, as a very viable part of fashion. Our goal was showing the versatility of Blackglama – how it can be designed and styled above and beyond the traditional coat.”
The original campaign featured just one ad of each Legend. “But with so many applications now with fur, it doesn’t work just to have one shot,” said Rocco Laspata, Decaro’s partner at the agency. Thus, the new campaign includes multiple ads of each Legend with each featuring a different garment.
The new campaign is also highlighted by its line-up of illustrious, high-profi le names. Since 2001 the campaign has featured a who’s who of the international fashion world. These names include superstars Linda Evangelista, Gisele Bündchen, Cindy Crawford, Elle Macpherson, Naomi Campbell and Elizabeth Hurley.
These Legends have helped to maintain the same style and elegance as the original campaign, while giving it a contemporary twist.
Like the rest of the world over the past 40 years, the fur business has changed. New techniques, new designs, new merchandising, new customers – all have worked together to bring about this change. There’s even a new iteration of the apparel world’s most iconic ad campaign. Throughout all these changes one thing has remained the same: the unsurpassed quality of Blackglama mink.

THE DEFINITION OF QUALITY

Without question, quality is the characteristic most often attributed to Blackglama. But who determines if a mink is worthy of the Blackglama label and what are the criteria?
Each and every pelt that arrives at American Legend is hand inspected by one of our exclusive graders. In order to qualify as Blackglama, the pelt must be free of any imperfections on both the fur and
“It is this shortnap characteristic that most defi nes the Blackglama mink in the garment form.”
leather side. Two types of fur are then examined; the base underfur must be deep in length, dark in color, and dense in fl ow. It supports the slightly longer and fi ner guardhair, which gives the pelt its soft, silky look and feel. It is this shortnap characteristic that most defi nes the Blackglama mink in the garment form.
With such tough criteria to pass, it is no wonder that less than 2% of the world’s ranch-raised mink production qualifi es as Blackglama mink and is awarded the coveted serialized labels by American Legend for garment placement.

THE CHOICE IS SIMPLE

Over the past forty years the Blackglama name has been synonymous with the beauty and unsurpassed quality that each piece embodies. It is safe to say that Blackglama has become truly iconic and inspirational, a symbol of class and style. The choice is simple. If you are looking for the most elegant and renowned natural dark mink, you need look no further than Blackglama.

“Editorial Review of the Brand History of Blackglama.”

Get the celebrity look

Marc Kaufman (left) with legendary NY Jets quarterback “Broadway Joe” Namath

Marc Kaufman Furs NYC NY 10001 212 563 3877

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Marc Kaufman Furs in New York City, NY ships your fur purchases to wherever you may be: Chicago, Illinois, Detroit, Michigan, Buffalo, New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, California, Minnesota, Seattle, Washington, Philadelphia, Taos, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Atlanta, Georgia, Portland, Oregon, Park City, Utah, Idaho, Vermont, Maine, New Hampshire, Wyoming, Montana, Aspen, Colorado, Missouri, Anchorage, Alaska, Moscow, Russia, London, UK, Switzerland, Germany, Paris, Chamonix, France, Austria, Italy, Dubai, UAE, Hong Kong, Beijing, China, Tokyo, Japan, Toronto, Whistler, British Columbia, Quebec, Canada, Helsinki, Finland, Stockholm, Sweden, Copenhagen, Norway; to all 50 States, and just about anywhere else in the World! With over 2000 quality furs to choose from, and the option to design your own, Marc Kaufman Furs of NYC has the most extensive online fur selection in the World.