Gloria Sachs has always included superbly cut coats in her collections. So it is no surprise that Neiman-Marcus tabbed her to do a special fur coat line for the store. Sachs admits it was difficult in the beginning. "There are different bulks in fur, from flat broadtail to mink, which is another thickness, and fox, which is fluffier still. Until we actually translated the muslin patterns into fur, it was hard for me to imagine just what the coats would look like."

She was pleased with the results. "Furs are a gorgeous luxury and should not be treated skimpily," she says. "I wanted them to have a great presence, with broad shoulders." The coats she has done in alpaca for her Seventh Avenue collection translated perfectly into fur.

Sachs has also designed some semifitted fur coats. "Broadtail works just like velvet," she says.

But for herself, she plans to wear the three-quarter coat in cross fox, a rare reddish fur. "I made it collarless so women can put lots of different scarves with it, and also to take away from some of the bulk. And the knee length works perfectly with short skirts, long skirts or pants." It's the ideal travel companion, she says. "Being shorter it is easier to carry around. And it will do double duty as a blanket on the plane."

Sachs is just back from Ireland and Italy, where her fabrics are made. She'll be making more frequent trips to Ireland -- on this last trip she bought a knitting mill on the outskirts of Belfast.