By Sandra Phillips
Fur is fashion nowadays. Look around at the clothing scene and you will see that fur is everywhere.
It crept onto the cuffs and collars of coats, then onto sweaters and capes. The Fur Council of Canada has been instrumental in modernizing the Canadian fur industry and blending it into our fashion industry.
Fur coats are seen as outerwear like anything else. Perhaps you think you can’t afford one, but we are lucky in Montreal to still be at the heart of the industry. What this means is you can shop wholesale. Although the fur buildings, as they used to be known, have been condo-ized, the furriers have scattered and found new homes.
Also, if you have an old coat hanging around (or maybe your mother does), you wouldn’t believe what furriers can do these days. Mink, beaver, raccoon and fox can be sheared, dyed, carved, grooved and remodeled. Shearing makes it much, much lighter. Remodeling can make it up to date, and dying can take it anywhere you want.
Fourrure Dubarry Furs (around 32 years), now in a beautiful exposed brick and stone atelier in Old Montreal, maintains low prices by doing all the work themselves. Ready-to-wear or custom-made jackets, hats, capes with fur trim (and water-resistant reversible ones) and coats, remodeling, repairs, cleaning and storage are all available here.
There is a line of cashmere and alpaca wear with and without fur trim, and shearling jackets. Trade-ins are accepted toward the purchase of a new coat.
206 St. Paul W. at St. Francois Xavier. 514-844-7483, dubarryfurs.com.
Jean Crisan Furs is a high-end fur company, open since 1986, that aims to sell to fashion trend followers, with sporty furs featuring funky textures (pleated, scrunched, bubblicious) and colours created by designer Minos and Italian designer Giorgio Rotti. Their one-of-a-kind 3D surfaces in carved, laser-grooved beaver, lynx and mink appeal to some, their classic silhouettes appeal to others, and some people may just want a fur-trimmed winter coat (maybe reversible).
Look for edgy neck art, wraps or Snow Image, their super-light goose-down coat. Unfortunately for them but fortunately for us, they are in bankruptcy protection. Their designs are being liquidated at ridiculous prices.
360 Mayor, second floor at Bleury (in Hercules Fur). 514-842-2492, jeancrisan.com.
If you have an old fur coat, you have such value in your closet—why let it sit there when Les Fourrures Elextra, run by a fur magician, can transform it into something wearable and beautiful? Opened in 1972, he knows how to make patterns from your body and how to be imaginative with fur. Sure, he can make you a brand new coat out of mink, beaver, Persian lamb or chinchilla, but give him an old coat and his eyes sparkle with ideas.
He will take it all apart, resize it and put it back together in a completely different way. You can easily put it inside a reversible waterproof winter coat, or—if it was a long coat—the bottom can become a hood. He cuts, carves, shears and grooves, and can add inserts with patterns like falling leaves, curves and squiggles—he can even do fur ruffles. Besides the total remodeling, he can clean your coat, dye it, do alterations and store it for you.
1625 Chabanel W., suite 960. 514-845-9287. By appointment.