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My London fur experience


Foxb
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Wow!

 

I got back a few hours ago from London after having an amazing time. I thought you'd like to hear about it.

 

I was invited to a fur warehouse in London. I have never seen anything like it - I was absolutely gobsmacked. It was a massive, massive warehouse with absolutely everything in it you could possibly imagine from every colour of mink to fox to Karakul lamb to beaver, and more. I was able to handle anything I wanted, and was told that I could buy anything I wanted too. They seemed keen to talk to me and were pleased that I am so interested in using fur, and they said I could call anytime I liked and either ask a question (however silly!) or buy anything at all. On my visit, I bought a coyote skin (at a discount, as all of the best ones have sold this season - this one is decent for sampling for my contest, which is what I intend to use it for as a wild, 'rugged' fur) and a blue fox skin (incredibly thick and soft) as well as a furrier's knife, which should cut more accurately than the type of snap blades and scalpels I've been using.

 

After I left the warehouse, I visited Hockley. Amazing! There is a very flamboyant collection using long fur, leopard print, bright colours etc but my favourites were the more classic (but still modern) and more natural colours. Most of these coats and jackets were mink - there were also jackets in chinchilla, fox, weasel, goat skin, sable... maybe others - too much to remember! There were far too many to take in and describe, but one that stood out to me most memorably was a black mink jacket, which reflected the light in a way that was iridescent (every strand of hair reflected a different colour from different angles).

 

Various other designer stores have included fur in their collections. At Burberry, I saw men's trenchcoats with a rex rabbit collar, parkas with coyote fur trim and some shearling. Nicole Farhi had knitted rabbit scarves in two styles, in colours mustard and burgundy. Lanvin had some nice pieces too - I saw in person this cardigan: http://www.lanvin.com/e-lanvin/UK//women/ready-to-wear/short-fur-cardigan-20814.html?color=Black&colorid=129# (the beaver fur was so soft) a fox bag (the fur was in a 'calico' or tortoiseshell type pattern - I am assuming it was pieced red fox) a fox shawl and more. A customer walked into Lanvin wearing a full length mink coat. I told her the coat was fantastic, and she said that she was glad that it was coming back into fashion, but that she still felt scared to wear fur sometimes.

 

In the street, I saw a lot of people with fur trimmed hoods, especially men - usually coyote fur. A lot of fake fur too, obviously. I saw one woman wearing a full red fox (quite a pale red) coat with a hood, and another wearing a short mink coat and mink hat.

 

All in all - a fantastic trip. I got some useful samples of other fabrics too, to support my collection. It was definitely worth going just to network with that warehouse, though!

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I have a sheared beaver pelt and I love it! I hope you had a chance to feel some Russian sable skins. That Lanvin piece is beautiful, but horribly overpriced.

 

Tricia

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Foxb, what a wonderful description of your trip. I am so glad that you let us share the experience just a little bit at least with you.

 

W

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I'm with WF! Thank you for sharing! It is very exciting to hear of your success and progress. Please keep us updated.

 

Good call on the knife. Good tools = good work.

 

All the best!

 

JA

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Foxb, that's just great! While reading your post I could just imagine visiting the warehouse myself, having the "fur experience" I suppose these are the last days of the post-Christmas sale. Last year around these days I visited the famous Harrods store and it was a very convenient place to see so many furs from such designers as Gucci, Fendi, Michael Kors, Roberto Cavalli, J Mendel etc. There was a very fluffy fox vest that was made with the "feathering" technique by Michael Kors. It was a knee length vest and in a lovely mint green colour, and since it was the sales season, every few minutes someone would come and try it on (I think people think expensive items are more approachable during the sales). There was a magnificent sable jacket by Caroline Herrera that I could not stop admiring. I even asked a saleslady to put it on and model it for me:) And of course, the Dennis Basso section had all the ultraluxe sables, chinchillas and lynxes. The French fur brand Yves Salomon is also sold at Harrods.

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Yes, everything at Lanvin is extremely expensive... people buy the brand name as much as anything! They have some pieces that are extremely expensive for what they are. For example, on their website I have seen a beanie style hat (knitted) with a rabbit fur pom pom for £450 - wow. Or a rabbit fur shawl (I think it had a silk or taffeta lining, something like that) probably made from four or so rabbits - this was over £1000. Unfortunately, I think the sable I saw in Hockley was Canadian, not Russian - but it was still gorgeous. The shop assistant at Hockley was extremely kind and showed me around for about half an hour, letting me see the coats that clients had brought in for repair, as well as all of their new designs (most of which are completely one of a kind). She said that they make custom designs right there in the shop, too, and I asked if many men buy fur - she said that more and more men come in for fur trim and also full length fur coats.

 

I'm trying to think if there was anything that I've forgotten to describe. There was so much! I saw knitted rabbit fur scarves in mustard or burgundy at Nichole Farhi. I was even tempted to buy one (they were on sale - and this does make the stores a little less intimidating!). There was a short one (with a loop at the top to thread the main part of the scarf through around one's neck) for £86 and a long one (true scarf or muffler length, with fur tassels) for £186. I was tempted to buy the short one, because I'm extremely interested in knitting fur and it would have been useful to study (and wear) but really, I had my eye on the longer one and didn't feel justified in buying that, since I have to save up my money to buy materials for my collection. Besides, last time I bought a wearable fur, it was rabbit - I think I'd like something different next time. The shop assistant didn't mind me gently separating a few of the strips of fur to see the construction, which was useful.

 

Unfortunately, I didn't get to Harrods, even though it was on my list as a place to visit. There just aren't enough hours in the day! In the area of the designer stores, I saw some fur in just about every window I went past, and I would have loved to go into all of the shops - alas, next time, hopefully.

 

It was really nice to be able to go into the stores and talk with some knowledge and enthusiasm - everyone was friendly to me and extremely helpful. It boosted my confidence, that's for sure!

 

As for the fur warehouse - it might seem a little morbid, I suppose, to have enjoyed it so much. Obviously it was a room full of thousands of 'dead animals'. There is that element in the back of my mind, but then again, we see this at supermarkets every day and don't bat an eyelid. Mostly, I felt extremely honoured to have been invited. The warehouse was very well run. Everything was grouped perfectly and it was inspirational to see that there is so much scope and possibility for what is available (going to Hockley straight afterwards and seeing what could be done with the fur was great too). I would have gladly found an excuse to buy an example (or more..) of everything in that room to make into something!

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I was invited to a fur warehouse in London. ... massive warehouse with absolutely everything in it you could possibly imagine from every colour of mink to fox to Karakul lamb to beaver, and more. I was able to handle anything I wanted, and was told that I could buy anything I wanted too. ... I bought a coyote skin ... and a blue fox skin ... as well as a furrier's knife...

 

After I left the warehouse, I visited Hockley. ... leopard print, bright colours ... Most of these coats and jackets were mink - there were also jackets in chinchilla, fox, weasel, goat skin, sable... maybe others...

 

Who else is jealous?

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Sounds like a great trip! Was the fur warehouse full of pelts only, or did they have coats as well?

 

Is access to it by invitation only?

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London was one of the big pelt buying strongholds in the past with a number of 'warehouses' stocking pelts. Its nice to hear that one survives and is doing well.

 

Here in Auz we have to buy pelts and import. Am always a little reluctant to purchase in China given past stories, but would consider London if they were reasonably priced and they shipped.

Are you able to let me know who contacted?

 

Understand if not.

 

Auzmink

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