Barbra’s “I Can Get It For You Wholesale” Fur Audition Coat

Barbra wore this caracal and fox fur coat when she auditioned for “I Can Get It For You Wholesale” on November 24th, 1961. Regarding the coat she recalled “Since the action took place in the 1930’s, I showed up in a 30’s fur coat that i’d bought in a thrift store for $10. I sang three songs including my new standby “A Sleeping Bee.” They asked me to come back and gave me “Miss Marmelstein” to learn for my second audition a few hours later.” In 2010’s “My Passion For Design, Barbra featured a photo of the coat stating “It’s an extraordinary color, but what I really loved about it was that the inside was as beautiful as the outside. I couldn’t believe that the lining was embroidered with all those chenille flowers. Very few people would ever see it, but they did it anyway. I asked Irene Sharaff, the costume designer for Funny Girl, to copy it in off-white so I could wear it onstage because I had read that off-white was Fanny Brice’s favorite color. Playwright Jerome Weidman recalled “Barbra wore a fur coat..a combination of tans, browns, yellows, and whites, all swirling around in great shapeless blotches, like a child’s painting.” Director Arthur Laurents thought the coat looked pristine, like “an old movie star wrap” and “like something Dietrich would have worn.” Legend has it that before Barbra sang, she took the gum out of her mouth and stuck it under the chair. Later when Laurents checked there was no gum. 

Barbra’s unique coat was made from caracal fur. Caracal is derived from a Turkish word “karakulak” meaning “black ear.” The inside green lining features embroidery of a red cornucopia filled with chenille flowers and vines which seem to climb up the inside of the jacket. Fox fur trims the shawl collar of the jacket as well as the bottom hem. She keeps this jacket lovingly stored in the “antique clothes shop” section of her Mailibu home.