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Getting Warmer

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When I was a kid, Grandma Alice stayed with us every Christmas. Looking back, three memories stand out: her snickerdoodles, the peppermint lifesavers in her patent-leather purse, and the luxurious fur collar on her winter coat. (Imagine those warm, furry hugs!) Sadly, most people these days define fur by the faux-fur lining of their hoodies, but a new exhibit at the Memphis Pink Palace Museum can introduce them to the real thing.

The exhibit, called "Dashing! Furs and Winter Style," offers a fashionable peek at by-gone eras, when a fur coat or mink stole was the ultimate holiday gift. "It seemed like a good match for the season," says Matt Timberlake, the museum's marketing assistant. "And we are lucky, because many of the garments were donated by a former employee."

He is referring to Meredith Pritchartt, whose elegant mid-century outfits include an off-the-shoulder red velvet gown (and ermine stole) from her debutante party. In addition to fashions from the 1950s, the exhibit features a fur-trimmed wool coat worn by Bishop J.O. Patterson, G.E. Patterson's uncle, and a remarkable assortment of accessories, including a purple velvet collar from the 1880s, trimmed in mink, heads and all.

"Dashing! Furs and Winter Style," at the Memphis Pink Palace through March.

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