Archive for the ‘Fur Fashion’ Category

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 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 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.

Ms Possum, Intrepid Traveler and Fur Researcher

March 4, 2010

Hello Possums

Yep, it’s the big freeze in the Northern Hemisphere, but spare a thought for Ms Possum getting a tad hot under the collar in 97% humidity and temperatures in the high 20’s here in Auckland, New Zealand. Phew!

However, at the beginning of the year I was over your way just in time to experience the UK’s coldest winter in decades.  Yeah, had to go then as Possum NZ shut the factory for a few weeks, like any other self respecting manufacturer in this neck of the woods. This was my chance to research the fur scene away from home once more. The things I do for the sake of work, huh? It’s a tough life!

So, I’m in the UK freezing my little possum merino sox off and what better way to keep warm but to go shopping.  I didn’t need much inducement with all the 50-70% off sales in full swing and the newish Westfield undercover shopping mall at Shepherd’s Bush that went on forever – a girls’ paradise, if ever I saw one! Check out some of my pix from this colossus of a place:
Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London
(Click on any of the images to see full size version on Flickr)

It was survival of the fittest here, as the bargains were worth fighting over and then there were queues for the changing rooms and at the checkouts.  It was retail at an adrenalin pumping, manic level that has to be seen to be believed.

I almost didn’t survive the “River Island” experience – more clothes on the floor than on the hangers and all these vicious females grabbing armfuls of goodies like there was no tomorrow! Argghhh! Yes Possums, the claws were out and I fought bravely, but the foe outnumbered me!

UGG Store at Westfield, Shepherd's Bush, London The above queues however, paled into insignificance to the looooong line snaking outside of the “Ugg Shop”.  Here were all these patient shoppers waiting in haphazard formation for up to 45 minutes (according to the security guard who only let a few in at a time) to spend 200 quid plus.  Yep, reverse psychology was being well used here – everyone else on sale but Ugg was holding its prices.  (Click on the image to see full size version on Flickr)

 

Why am I telling you this?

Well, I’ve just designed a new footwear range and mixed New Zealand possum fur with sheepskin, plus gone a tad dotty with our New Zealand Friesian Cow skin Moomoo range that has random spots plastered all over the show.

They look funky and feel delightfully soft and spongey on the inside.  I’ve also specified heavy duty gridded soles for the boots and non slip flexi soles for the slippers.  OK, they don’t have UGG written on the label, but they are seriously warm, durable and hand-cut wherever possible by Possum New Zealand. Plus you definitely won’t spend anywhere near 200 quid!  Check out our new footwear range today.

Then it was off to Barcelona where temperatures were a balmy 16 degrees and this is the place if you want it all – art, architecture, fashion, culture and the beach.  Nothing prepares you for the sheer scale and magnificence of Gaudi’s masterpieces.  The wait for the elevator to the top of one of Sagrada Familia’s steeples was truly worth it, as one can view at close range the sad faced statues clinging to the sides of the building – as if they were threatening to jump off – contrasted by the gigantic, boldly coloured first fruits to God speared through the pointed steeple tops. Antoni Gaudi was a genius and his other works were as quirky and original as he drew from nature and avoided straight lines wherever possible.
Sagrada Familia Steeples, Barcelona Gaudi Masterpieces, Barcelona
(Click on any of the images to see full size version on Flickr)

So, what has all this got to do with fashion?

A lot actually, the Catalan people are a happy lot and their exuberance for life is not limited to their amazing architecture, but infiltrates into every aspect of fashion.  The two labels I found so appealing were Desigual and Custos. The use of bright colour and blending of different textures, patterns and trim in these labels is mind blowing, and like Gaudi, a bit quirky and offbeat.

Here are some of my fashion pix taken in the thick of things in the Designer district of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas:
Valentino, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona Valentino, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona Fur Fashion, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona Fur Fashion, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona Fur Fashion, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona Louis Vuitton, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona Store Entrance, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona Store Display, Designer District of Passeig de Gracias and Las Ramblas, Barcelona
(Click on any of the images to see full size version on Flickr)

Yes, faux fur or the real stuff is in vogue here and it inspires me to join up all my bright and gaudy babylamb and possum fur scraps and make a masterpiece or two!

Of course, the winner of Fur Central has to go to Italy once more.  This time, I was in Venice and it was magical.  Water, bridges, gondolas, glassware and masks abound at every turn.  Forget the map – the intricate labyrinth of cobbled lanes takes you out to multitudes of campos and piazzas, so my suggestion is just head for the Rialto Bridge (signs are everywhere) and digress anywhere you like in between, as the myriads of craft shops are sooo interesting.  

In the thick of Winter these elegant ladies thought nothing of coming out in their vintage mink coats and fur hats, and even dressing their mini pooches in like fashion.  They really need more possum fur over their way!!  Check out some Venetian fashion pix:
Fashion Masks, Venice Window Display, Venice Fur Fashion, Venice Window Display, Venice
(Click on any of the images to see full size version on Flickr)

So Possums, all this research means new things are in the offing – watch this space!

In the meantime, I’d love to deck you out in any of our warm possum fur, cowskin, or babylamb numbers – all made in New Zealand, largely from our workroom and all originally designed by Ms Possum herself. 

No excuse to freeze my little dahlings – we have everything to keep you snuggly warm!

So, be good and I look forward to hearing from my international hordes of hypothermic fellow critters real soon…

Regards,

 Ms Possum (Intrepid Traveler and International Fur Researcher)

Ms Possum’s Photos

December 30, 2008

A while ago on a whirlwind shopping trip to Melbourne, I visited the Queen Vic market and snapped a few pics.

The website Schmap included one of my photos from the market in their ‘what’s on’ guide.

Here’s the link.