Part 4: Ms Possum in Saudi Arabia: A Saudi Royal Wedding with Gowns from Paris!

October 5, 2012
saudi-wedding-gowns

Ms Possum finds Paris in Riyadh

There are weddings and there are weddings but it is not till one has attended a Royal Saudi Wedding, that one realises it cannot be beaten in opulence and extravagance.

The resourceful Ms “L”, who was already on the guest list, managed to score an additional invite for the visiting Ms Possum in the form of a beautifully embossed personalised card. Ms Possum was sooo excited to be an honoured guest as this was to be a Who’s Who of female Saudi Royalty.

Saudi weddings start late at night and are women-only events, bar a short interlude where the groom and close male members pay tribute to the bride.  The males had their own separate low key event the previous night as weddings in Saudi Arabia are not about them!

So, it all started at 10pm in a venue more akin to a Palace than a Wedding Reception Hall.  Into the “Abayah Check- in Area” where the black robes are thrown off to reveal real women beneath.  Then into the main Hall, full of multitudinously gigantic and sparkling chandeliers.

And glory it was – hundreds of gorgeous women in Parisian designer gowns and dripping with the most exquisite diamond and precious stone encrusted jewellery. Ms Possum having a penchant for both shiny things and immaculately cut gowns, quickly calculated that the average spend of each person in the room would have amounted to a quarter of a million dollars each.  Ms Possum would have had to become world notorious to enter this sort of league and she wholeheartedly regretted not throwing a whole heap of cubic zirconiums into her luggage to at least emulate the part a tad more!

These Saudi beauties, who had gone to Paris to be specifically kitted out for the occasion, would not have been out of place in Vogue and they  flitted here and there like iridescent butterflies revelling in a few hours of freedom before being re-cocooned in black invisibility. Here was their chance to be spotted by their future mothers-in-law and discreet enquiries were being made this very night regarding family ranking and status. Where else could a potential bride be so chosen looking at her Abayah-less best?

All of these wonderful creatures came with impeccable manners, modest necklines and were beautifully coiffed and macquillaged. It was a sight to behold from one of the many luxurious chaises lounges that surrounded the “catwalk” where the bride was to make her triumphant entrance and not dissimilar to having front row seats at Paris Fashion Week.

So, it was a chance to sit back and view a cross section of Parisian gowns in one location.  The Mother of the Bride wore Jean Paul Gaultier – a  fitting dark strapless number with shocking pink, vertically draping sleeves that billowed as she walked. Ms Possum was told it was a choice between that or a red Armani purchased just in case.

The Mother of the Groom was stunning in an off the shoulder sapphire blue Givenchy.  And the younger, beautiful sister of the bride wearing a  taupe empire lined Elie Saab with exquisite detailing – this designer does a lot of work in the Middle East for such occasions.

Ms Possum’s personal “best” was the wafer thin girl in purple Dior gown with off the shoulder “waves” of layered peplums; then more “waves”   cascading from the fitted waist to the ground. Ms Possum thought it would not have looked out of place in Gone with the Wind!

But there was more to come to astound the now giddy, moon-eyed Ms Possum – tune in for the next installment.

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Part 3: Ms Possum has Dinner at the NZ Embassy

September 25, 2012

The NZ Embassy had heard Ms Possum was coming and arranged for her and the Prince to come to a formal Dinner. The Diplomatic Quarter houses many fine Embassies that are next door to each other and not unexpectedly, armed guard security into this exclusive enclave was par for the course. So it was an utter privilege for Ms Possum to attend and to meet the NZ and Australian Ambassadors along with other diplomats and ex pats for a night of degustatory delight! Ms Possum was well entertained in hearing everyone’s interesting stories and reciprocated with some of her own. In this amazing setting, diplomatic status meant that Western norms took precedence over the strict protocol of the Islamic world outside and Ms Possum pondered deeply at the huge juxtaposition between the two worlds.

Ms Possum's Embassy Dinner

But the Royal Wedding beats the cake! Yes, this ziggurat shaped tower of a cake reached up to the chandelier of a very high ceiling. Ms Possum had never seen such a big cake in all her life and was a wee bit worried when guests were digging into the mid section and wondering if the whole structure would be undermined! Very few outsiders are ever invited to such a prestigious affair and Ms Possum concluded it was about as difficult to go to Kate and Wills wedding as it was to be there. Needless to say, she was as excited as a possum in a pear tree could be to have scored an invite.

Find out next week what goes on at a Royal Saudi Wedding and more of Ms Possum’s adventure in the Magic Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

And if you’d like to catch up on the story so far, click here.

Part 2: Definitely Not Breakfast At Tiffany’s & Ms Possum Meets the Prince

September 19, 2012

So Ms Possum has arrived in Riyadh and chauffeur driven to the Al Khozama Hotel. The wonderful Ms L coincided briefly there and went through the action-packed itinerary that would see them through the next few days and then it was Pumpkin time; ie: time for all good possums to hit the hay.

The next morning, the Abayah clad Ms Possum was rearing to go and went down to breakfast – a sole female in a dining room awash with white-robed Arabian men with a few international businessmen to boot. A girl dreams of undivided male attention – but not this sort – the body language signalled “what on earth was an unaccompanied female doing breakfasting in our vicinity?”

Ms Possum was not to be phased and happily chatted away to the curious waiters as if this was the most natural thing in the world for her. The whole team of all male hotel staff got used to the irrepressible Ms Possum and came to expect a cheery Hello from her. They remembered how she liked her eggs; were surprised when she asked about their lives; totally intrigued how a lone girl had come to Saudi Arabia to do business and blown away when they realised which Prince had sponsored the visit. They became quite protective of Ms Possum in ensuring she got into the right car and was safe and the little posy of flowers as a farewell was a touching gesture.Ms Possum's breakfast

Armed with a suitcase full of possum samples and pressies, Ms Possum met the Prince at his Business HQ. Having been educated and employed in the UK a few moons ago, the Prince’s English was impeccable and his manner genial. The Prince is a Philanthropist and has many charities – one of which was to assist disadvantaged women into meaningful work. The brief: to design Bedouin inspired décor or clothing in possum fur in such a way so that local women could incorporate their own local craft into the equation. Ms Possum sooo approved of this noble cause and subsequently came up with a modular concept where designs can be mixed and matched in plated form to provide the basis for throws, rugs, garment linings, wall hangings, etc. Then local women could hand weave their own backings and attach Egyptian braids or plaits to embellish. (Click pictures to enlarge.)

Ms Possum's take on a classic Bedouin design ...then multiplied out a few times ...then tassels added Ms Possum's take on a Bedouin tent Design repeated as many times as required Ms Possum's inspiration was from a camel saddle Design multiplied out a few times ...or just as a luxurious tasselled cushion Arabian geometric design Multiplied out a few times ...or adding mixing and matching with another design ...or the whole gee-whizz shebang Ms Possum's take on Arabian herringbone Design multiplied out a few times Ms Possum's take on Arabian Houndstooth Multiplied out a few times Cushions, pillows, throws & rugs can all be made from these modular designs

The next instalment is all about Ms Possum’s delicious dinner with diplomats! (To follow the never-ending story click here.)

Ms Possum Goes to Saudi Arabia

September 13, 2012

Arabian Possum Fur Kaftan by Possum NZ

Part 1:
VIP Treatment at Riyadh Airport

Ms Possum receives many customised orders, but this one was a bit more unusual than most. The elegant Ms L, a Kiwi ex-pat resident of Saudi Arabia for 29 years, came back Downunder for a holiday and requested a possum fur-lined Furwah (pronounced Farawah), an Arabian kaftan type garment for a colleague of hers.  (See the story here.) Little did Ms Possum suspect it was for a Prince belonging to the line of Al-Saud, who discovered so much oil in the desert decades earlier and were catapulted from being Bedouin herdsmen to the ruling elite.

So when, much later on, the Prince wanted to know more about possums from New Zealand, he asked the obliging Ms L, to arrange Ms Possum’s all expenses paid visit on his behalf.

nz to saudi mapMs Possum was honored to be invited but also a tad apprehensive. Ms Possum, intrepid traveller, relieved that the terrorist bombings were not at Riyadh where she was going; swotted up on Islamic culture and history and armed herself with a few words of Arabic. Off she went hoping that any driver she might have in her travels would not pass out in the 50 degree heat causing Ms Possum to take the wheel and end up getting herself in a spot of trouble!

Ms Possum was a little stunned to be on a flight with umpteen rows of work weary Filipino men who were doing another stint of construction labour in this oil rich land.  She donned her own elegant jet black Abayah (obligatory female cloak covering the entire body but not the head) with matching neck scarf just in time for touchdown and wondered what adventures would befall her.

ms possum wearing an abayahThe VIP treatment started right at Riyadh Airport where she was greeted by the Prince’s assistant as soon as she got off the plane and ushered into a Private Security Clearance room with a whole team of Border Control men with nothing to do but to put Ms Possum’s little piece of hand luggage through her own dedicated X-ray machine and stamp her passport.  Then through the extensive Room for Women (full of couches, prayer mats and bathroom) to freshen up and out to a waiting limo with suitcase collected for her.

You won’t believe what happens next when Ms Possum meets the Prince. Tune in next week!

Ms Possum Goes To The Ball

March 23, 2011

Ms Possum had a very nice nocturnal experience recently – she went to the Ball.  It was a gathering of 249 like minded individuals and Ms Possum realised she would have to look her glorious and “furious” best.

The Fur Brigade at a recent Ball Ms Possum attendedTo that end, she got her locks curled and put on her best possum fur stole. She was joined by a few of her friends and Ms Possum’s generosity extended to decking out these females in furry attire as well. So the self appointed “Fur Brigade” made their grand entrance into the sumptuously decorated Ballroom full of chandeliers, chaise longues and beautiful people.

However, Ms Possum noticed a disproportionate number of females to males in this exclusive setting – she calculated it might have been 66 to 33.3% recurring. Her friends concurred with this mathematically precise analysis. One of them remarked that Ms Possum could possibly be held responsible for decimating the male population with her sharp wit, talons and “furociousness”!!  Unjustly accused Ms Possum hissed.  Her theory is that the male population is depleted about the time of a Ball as this is the time when most males discover a genetic deformity linked to two left feet and they do not want to draw attention to this inherent disorder. They are sometimes found suspiciously lurking together in sheds flexing their arm muscles instead of those in their legs.

Others end up leaving these Antipodean shores.  As New York and London report the same problems, Ms Possum has concluded that some males do not make it having “lost“ their way due to an aversion to ask for directions en-route.  Perhaps they are still circumnavigating the globe as we speak which could have something to do with the increase in global warming and the skewing of the above figures.

Ms Possum wants to give all these recalcitrant males a short sharp talonic jab of Vupeculean strength to wake them up from this inexcusable avoidance of responsibility.

Needless to say, despite these severe male shortcomings, Ms Possum had fun sipping her fave drinks, dancing, mingling and enjoying the dimly lit atmosphere.

She just loves being a creature of the night…

Ms Possum Throws a Cat Party

March 13, 2011

No, it’s not a party throwing cats around!  That is sooo un PC and worthy of an SPCA callout!Ms Possum and Hello Kitty

It was a  recent party to celebrate the 2nd convening of the Cat Club Inc.  Yes, Ms Possum’s good friend Natalia,  then aged 6, formed the Cat Club about a year ago and is the self appointed President thereof.   This exclusive Club is only open to members who possess a bona fide possum fur “Possycat” made by Possum New Zealand and Natalia’s serious professionalism to this marketing cause resulted in each one of us  having to sign our names into a Formal Registration Book as a pre-requisite.  Thus far, Cat Club members are aged between 4 and 14 years old; apart from Ms Possum of course, age of whom is a State Secret!

We also have our own surreptitious “Hello Kitty Wave” which is a discreet lower horizontal arm movement  to greet  each other (quite superior to the Freemason handshake I might add).  However, Ms Possum may have O.D’d on Hello Kitty when she visited Asia frequently at one stage – it’s a cat that really got her claws stuck in Ms Possum at the time as this scary feline possessed the ability to replicate herself 1000 fold wherever Ms Possum went –  it was like a multiplicity horror movie!  To this day, she shudders at the mere thought of  running into Hello Kitty again!

However, Ms Possum felt very privileged to be the only grown up allowed in the inner sanctum of the Cat Club as even parents were persona non grata.  The first part of the events schedule was dedicated to business and a consideration of the minutes of the last meeting.  Then, by Natalia’s decree, Ms Possum was appointed Vice President.  Ms Possum felt very honored to be second-in-charge but the very mature,  now 7 year old, Natalia insisted that if anything happened to her so that she could not attend a subsequent meeting, that Ms Possum knew enough to be able to cover.  Ms Possum graciously accepted this onerous responsibility but  politely said any meeting would  definitely be  postponed until Natalia could attend.  All present clapped  in unanimous approval.  The next point of business was to introduce a guest of honour:  Jade , aged 8 years old, who was visiting Auckland – and while she did not have a Possycat, she did bring another toy cat which made her eligible to be a part of the festivities.  More spontaneous applause to welcome Jade.

Cat Club's Cat Walk with their PossycatsSo, with business over, we had a jam packed itinerary.  First of all, we donned “cat aprons” and our official possum fur “cat badges”.  As Natalia had proposed a Hawaiian dress code, the cat club members and cats were very brightly coloured for the “Catwalk” Fashion Show.  New York Fashion Week wasn’t a patch on this!  The audience was comprised of the proud parents who, not surprisingly, gave good reviews, so it’s just a matter of time for Vogue to realise this burgeoning talent.

Cat Club's Cat MasksSecond on the agenda was the “Cat Mask Painting Competition” – yes folks the $2  (plus) Shop had these amazing Cat Head masks in reconstituted cardboard that just needed felt tip and highlighters added and the results were stupendous!!  There was complete silence when this activity was being carried out as all were in rapt concentration to win the “Best Mask” prize.  The audience voted with a show of hands the winners, but as there was suspected nepotism surrounding this process, prizes were handed out to all entrants to counteract any blatant vote rigging.

Cat Club's Cat CakeThen it was on to the “Cat IQ” test, with Ms Possum asking very simple to very hard questions about cats so that all could participate.  An example of an easy question for the younger members was: “What rhymes with cat?” and for the adults: “What ancient civilisation had cats for Gods?”  Anyway, we all learnt something and more prizes were awarded.  Email Ms Possum for the full set of questions if you dare to determine in which “cat”egory of intelligence you belong.

Dinner for all was next, but the  highlight was the  cutting of the Cat Cake for dessert.  Tracey, one of the Mums, made this yummy cat cake with sweets as whiskers and ice cream cones smothered with chocolate for the ears.  We think Natalia and Hunter cutting the cake may be a precursor of things to come in 20 years!  Watch this space.

Cat Club's Tinned FoodAnd no cat party would be complete without tinned “cat food”!  Natalia googled some cat pics and stuck them to the sides of the recycled tins and placed chocolate treats inside. Delish!!

All in all, a fab evening and Ms Possum was at her “cattiest” best. Yes, she does convene with cats as Ms Possum is not “racist” when it comes to other animals as she feels world peace might be achieved more quickly if we allow for diversity and preclude hegemony between animal groups.  She tries very hard not to be too political about these things but she probably is a closet social reformer of sorts.

Let Ms Possum know if you want to start a Cat Club and she will even let you pick your fave colours to go into the making of your own individualised Possycat. Ask your parents first before you max out their credit card for a gaggle, herd or litter of possycats!!  All Ms Possum asks is that you put them no where near that Hello Kitty as Ms Possum will not be held  responsible for any cat fight that might ensue.

Ms Possum and the Arabian Nights

October 1, 2010

Well, my little fur aficionados, I’m going to tell you a story about my latest furry creation.

A few weeks ago, there was a knock on the factory door by an elegant ex-pat Kiwi female who has been working in Saudi Arabia for the past 28 years.

She wanted a Possum NZ rendition of a Saudi “Farawah” which is an Arabian kaftan and it was to be made in the traditional style BUT lined with our fab possum fur. She was positive that this NZ spin on an Arab classic would win the hearts and minds of those within her adopted land.

“Sure” I said, as Ms Possum is always obliging, and thought she could work it all out in her head afterwards. After much head banging, she did!!

My client said that the Saudi guys have these gorgeous big tents out in the desert and at night when the temperature plummets, they light fires over braziers, drink the famous coffee made from long spouted silver pots and eat sweet dates and delicacies, while reclining on divans of hand knotted rugs. It is a time when the guys get together and perhaps it is not at all dissimilar to Kiwi guys hanging out in their sheds. Of course, women can come too and enjoy the welcoming Saudi hospitality as my client had done many a time.

What better way to enjoy life but to wrap up warmly in a possum fur lined Farawah in sub-zero temperatures, telling stories over a blazingly warm open fire and feeling at one with the world? After feasting, one could merely curl up on the divan and use the Farawah as an enormous possum throw and be as snug as a bug in a rug. Yes, that is the life, but a life far removed from Ms Possum’s reality!Ms Possum tags along for the ride with a Saudi Prince

But, Ms Possum could imagine one of her furry creations decking the back of a Saudi Prince, who would be riding into the sunset of an Arabian night, astride a noble camel. If only Ms Possum could tag along for the ride!! No, Ms Possum is not a contributing author for Mills and Boon, but every now and again, she likes to let her imagination run a tad wild…

So, Ms Possum obtained the best wool fabric which was heavy enough to take the weight of 35 scrummy possum fur hides and adopted a tailored garment approach to the entire construction. The weight of the article meant that all seams had to be carefully reinforced but the result was amazing and it would be impossible to feel cold bedecked in such a manner!

Arabian Possum Fur Kaftan by Possum NZLet me know if you know any Saudi Princes who would want similar… or what about a Farawah party whereby the girls can have shocking pink or bright green possum fur lined Farawahs – oohhh scrumptious!! Yes, my dahlings, Ms Possum just adores bright and leery colours and can do that for any Princess. Just add all the famous 24 carat gold bling as well and Ms Possum would feel right at home!!

So, my lovelies, another market for Ms Possum to get her tenacious claws into! If you know any fantastically wealthy Saudi Princes or Princesses who would want similar… tell them Ms Possum will hand deliver the garments herself should they wish to send her a return first class air ticket on Emirates!

Ms Possum’s Altercation with a Swine

September 29, 2010

Well if you’re like Ms Possum and living in the land that never stops raining – good ol’ NZ – you may have succumbed to the flu this cold, damp winter.

Ms Possum was fit and healthy and her life was full of amusing nocturnal activities until she was mown down – well, actually run over by a bus – which was allegedly driven by a swine.  She managed to get the number plate of “2009 H1N1” and from what we’ve heard, there have been many hit and runs traced to this number to date.

Ms Possum's Altercation with a SwineThere was no warning and not even time to say “Look, two moons!” when there she was, left flat as a pancake (flatter than normal I mean).

And the swine kept reversing back and forwards in the form of relapses onto yours truly, so much so, that she’s now almost two-dimensional.  Not a good look when we’re trying to create fabulously furry creations for three-dimensional beings!

Ms Possum thought she’d eaten enough greens to ward off this sort of barbaric attack, but alas, even a possum can be in the wrong place at the wrong time…arghhh!

Ms Possum thought she was in her death throes, especially being beset by mad coughing fits similar to the raspy but terminal TB coughs of the little critters that are her namesakes.  My good friend diagnosed the problem as Ms Possum having a dose of 1080 poisoning which made Ms Possum feel immeasurably better about the whole situation – not!  Perhaps a green carrot had got into the lettuce mix somehow, or was it that free food sample from the DOC Garden Café??

There is a fine line between life, and life imitating art, is there not?

Curse that dreaded swine!!  Ms Possum now looks a bit mangy after losing that battle.  Hissss!!!!

Anyway, after possum napping a few days, Ms Possum heeded the call of duty, despite her exhaustion, to continue making her trademark beautiful possum goodies to keep the world warm and a better place to live.  Yes, her noble inclinations are indeed medal worthy.

Speaking of medals, Ms Possum’s brother in the UK recently received a medal in the form of an OBE.  Ms Possum is undeniably proud to be genetically linked to such an illustrious individual, but is concerned that he resembles more of a mad, but gentrified, Ninja Warrior with a BBC voice wearing Italian suits (anachronistic collision of cultures here), than the wonderfully normal, talon wielding, nasal sounding, tree loving Ms Possum bedecked resplendently in furry attire, still living in the Antipodes.  Yes, really, they are related. Just can’t explain how.

Now, my lovelies, there is going to be some changes to the website in the next few weeks, so will keep you posted… but just wanted to say “hi” and to let you know that Ms Possum is alive and kicking and ready to rid the world of synthetic fibres, reduce our carbon emissions and save those trees!!  Yes, “Buy a Possum and Save a Forest!” and join Ms Possum in her unrelenting crusade to help the world be a more fuzzy wuzzy, fun and furry place.

Ms Possum One Offs (unless you want one too!)

May 21, 2010

Parisian Possum Fur Swing CoatI recently met a lovely family from Paris who were on extended stay in New Zealand. They wanted to take back with them something totally evocative of our beautiful country. So we thought what better way to stroll the Champs Elysee, or go to the Paris Opera House en Hiver, than in a tailor made shorn black possum fur swing coat!

Wow, after taking umpteen measurements for the female client and two fittings, the coat was tailored to perfection!

The Mandarin collar, invisible pockets and strategically placed design lines all added to the stunning look this one-off piece produced. Shearing a few millimetres off the possum fur resulted in a smooth velvety texture hich oozed luxury.  We hope the Parisians go “ooh la la, c’est magnifique!” at Possum New Zealand’s creation.

Fancy your own tailor made possum fur jacket or ¾ coat?  Allow between NZ$2000-$3500 (ex. GST) depending on the length, fur and cut.  I’ll need to see you for 2-3 fittings and/or one of your best fitting jackets/coats as a guide.

Kids Possum Fur Hat, Collar and MuffKIDS PROTOTYPES
For some reason, kids have been foremost in our custom designs of late.  The Parisian client wanted her shorn black possum fur offcuts converted into something unique for her young daughter.  The result: a fur hat, reversible collar and the prettiest muff this side of the black stump – best dressed kid in Paris we say!

And then two of Ms Possums’ fave kid friends requested cushion covers with a wolf and husky dog embedded on it in possum fur.  Hmmm, having never done animals of this kind before (not that Ms Possum is biased towards other animals) we had to really go figure.  Check out these items and see if you think it looks remotely like the intended little critter…

Possum Fur Cushion Cover - Huskie Possum Fur Cushion Cover - Wolf

Now, if you really like any of the above, we can upload them as an item on the website, but in the meantime simply email us and we can provide you a price for the new items.

Or if you have a unique idea for your kids, throw it at me possums – I may consider making it especially for you.  These projects are fun and fiddly all at the same time, but I get a huge creative kick out of kids items as it takes me back to when I was a young possumette all those full moons ago… sigh.

Click here to view our full kids range.

POSSUM HEAD WEAR

Possum Fur Head PieceI had a desperate client come into the workshop a few days back.  Her son was getting married in a couple of days and the purple/black mother-of-the-groom dress was more plain jane than red carpet wonder. What to do?!

Just add possum ladies!

We draped a purple raw edge collar over her neck for NZ$112 inc. GST or NZ$99 exported freight free and a custom made possum headpiece (P.O.A) = stunning!!

The only problem now was the Mother of the Groom outshining the bride – what a dilemma!

Regards, Ms Possum

Ms Possum in a Bullish Market

May 17, 2010

Look what Ms Possum has just made!!

Custom Design Moomoo Rug“Not out of possums!” you say…

Er no, Ms Possum does not have racial tendencies to only one furry creature, instead she also manufactures under her “Moomoo” label, as well as the iconic “Possum New Zealand”.

So, this custom design rug is made from 20 mini Friesian cow hides – all carefully joined together to create a work of art that is far more therapeutic than going to the shrink.  We could look at it for hours – in fact Ms Possum did while making it!!

For other Moomoo creations including our new footwear range, visit the Possum New Zealand website.

So my pets, if you have the misfortune of being born a male moomoo in New Zealand, you’ll be collectively called by the name of “Bobby” and a part of you will be converted into a work of art gracing someone’s body or floor.*

For all you other males out there – don’t mess with Ms Possum or she’ll have your hide!!

Regards, Ms Possum

* P.S.: I’d like to put a wee disclaimer here at this point in time for all you animal lovers.  While we have made this rug from the hides of calves, here at Possum New Zealand we are very conscious of where we source our materials from and ensure that no animal cruelty has taken place.  For this particular rug all the hides that were used were from calves that unfortunately did not survive the first few days of their life due to natural elements.