This silver fox is a true fashion victim. While the Puke Ariki textile collection holds a substantial collection of fur stoles that reflects their one-time popularity, many New Zelanders would now find the thought of draping one round their neck repulsive. Complete with a snout, paws and bushy tail and fitted with an unnerving pair of glazed eyes, there is no doubt the stole makes a bold statement.
Details of the original wearer of the stole were unknown but some recent research using Puke Ariki's Swainson Collection unearthed a photograph of it being proudly worn by Mrs Young sometime between 1923 and 1926. A quick trawl through this collection shows scores of New Plymouth women between the 1920s and 1950s wore furs of various kinds when they sat for studio portraits soon after being married. While the image of fur has been tarnished by animal rights concerns the fur trade has experienced a worldwide recovery in recent years with increased demand from China and Russia fuelling the resurgence.
Closer to home, the trade in possum fur and fibre is booming thanks to its use in merino blended products and high fashion wraps and coats. Ref: A90.950
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