How Many Fur Coats Would Cruella De Vil Even Get Out Of 101 Dalmatians?

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101 Dalmatians

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Cruella de Vil is, in short, a lot. Her backstory — found in the 1956 Dodie Smith novel The Hundred and One Dalmatians — includes a grandfather who was, in all likelihood, a serial killer, and some ancestor spawned from Satan himself, proving that no good ever comes from taking a 23andMe Ancestry test. Cruella is a villain, alright, and the 1961 Disney animation sure made her look it.

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For as we all know, nothing screams “villain” like a character smoking a cigarette.

While the novel seems to reason that Cruella is evil because of genealogy, the movies imply that she’s cruel simply for the sake of it (and no, we’re not counting the bonkers rendition the latest live-action movie tried to feed us). She abuses everyone who walks and breathes around her, and the woman has one insatiable appetite for any plan most devilish. In the case of her employee, Anita — who’s also an old schoolmate of Cruella in both the novel and the animation — that plan is to steal Anita’s Dalmatian puppies and turn them into some kind of fashionable body wrap.

This, however, begs the question: How many coat wraps (like the one above, or even just a normal long-length coat Cruella usually dons) could one get from skinning a hundred and one Dalmatian puppies? We here at Cracked simply had to investigate this very important and totally normal question, so we reached out to fashion designer and artist Elzanne Louw, because the truth is that we won’t even know where to begin making something as simple as a sack dress. 

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Let alone a coat of this proportions.

According to Louw, the first thing to consider here is the ideal age at which one (if one were a diabolical puppy murderer) would want to skin a Dalmatian. Puppies have much softer fur than adult Dalmatians, but they only develop their spots as they grow. Spots will start showing up somewhere between weeks four and six, but these spots’ definition will keep developing for months after until the dog is fully grown at around 16 to 18 months. Taking into account, then, the softness, the spots, as well as the size required to at least yield a decent amount of fur, 10 to 12 months seem to be the ideal age to damn oneself to Hell by skinning a bunch of pups named Lucky and Spotty. 

Measuring is a bit tricky — what with every dog having its own size — but Louw points out that the important thing to remember is the shrinkage that’ll inevitably occur during the treatment process of the furry skins. Factoring that in (Louw says it’s a good 10%) and calculating the average size and length of a one-year-old Dalmatian pup, we get to a fur skin of approximately 20 x 12 inches (50 x 30cm). That’s not all that big since a normal suit-size jacket needs 2.7 x 1.5 yards of material (250 x 140cm), and a long coat like the ones Cruella favors works out at 5 x 1.5 yards (450 x 140cm).

Stated differently, a long coat will need 6.3 square meters of material, and our puppy skins will average 0.15 square meters each. Do the math, and you’ll find that to make a single coat the size Cruella wants, approximately 42 puppies will have to be sacrificed. It means that if Cruella wants those long, soft fur coats, she’ll get two out of all those puppies and maybe a nice big fur cap.

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For those bad hair days.

This, of course, seems like a lot of effort to kidnap and skin a bunch of puppies only to produce two spotted coats and certain damnation, but Louw says that, unfortunately, Cruella could sell those two dead dog drapes for a ton of money on the black market — especially given how exclusive they are. Floyd Mayweather once famously bragged about his $100,000 chinchilla fur, and while chinchillas (who also make excellent pets, by the way) are dangerously close to extinction, the fur trade can still legally farm them. Illegal trading means more moolah, and Cruella could still make a good buck here. Unless, of course, she decides to keep the garments all to herself because the woman is just like that.

Louw, who unequivocally opposes the fur trade and prefers the faux variety instead, reckons it’s still an interesting question to think about, since the world still dabbles in all kinds of farming and slaughtering of animals for a variety of reasons. As she told us, it points to the question of “the worth of a cow versus the worth of a dog, not to mention the social and environmental impact that comes with it.” It’s also a reminder that while many big fashion houses like Versace and Gucci have banned fur, there are still industries around the world who lack animal abuse laws and penalties, and many people who’d look at the story of Cruella de Vil as some kind of business plan. As PETA director Elisa Allen told Metro UK,  there’s a “general lack of accountability” when it comes to international supply chains, meaning “there’s no easy way of telling whose skin you’re really wearing.”

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