With the cold weather upon us and the switching of wardrobes, we found ourselves exploring secondary uses for the items in our closets.
I had a vintage fur piece I wasn’t getting use out of anymore, and luckily, a friend who worked with Herman Sellers Gough (HSG Furs) suggested I try remodeling it into something a little more on trend.
One of my first jobs in fashion had been in the fur category at Oscar de la Renta. Equipped with the knowledge I had of working with fur, I was looking forward to meeting with Harry Papadopoulos and his team.
Papadopoulos’s family has been in the fur business for generations and has seen every trend, from home decor to footwear and now, mask accessories, arise.

STYLE Canada’s Elise Gasbarrino at HSG Furs

I visited Papadopoulos at one of his two Toronto locations and was introduced to international fur designer Wendi Ricci: the mastermind behind all of his company’s remodels.
Ricci is a true artisan. She took my measurements and talked me through what was possible with my existing piece.
(Note: If a fur piece you’ve been sitting on for years has not been stored properly, certain sections of the fur may not be viable for a remodel.)

Elise Gasbarrino with Harry Papadopoulos at HSG Furs

During my consultation with Ricci, she took me through samples of different shapes and techniques. Whereas many customers bring their old furs to HSG to be sheared and/or made into pillows or throws, I was able to update the body of my coat since it was in good condition.
Ricci helped me take up the length, remove the 80s shoulders, and add a hood for warmth.

Wendy Ricci’s consultation table

After a consultation, Ricci and HSG patternmakers draft a customized sample to fit your fur coat. The original design is deconstructed and then the skins are reconfigured and basted for your next fitting.
The entire process is a kind of Old World craftsmanship – it can take up to a week to complete.

HSG Furs

On my second visit to HSG, I went through the fitting process with Ricci. We established my coat’s sleeve length, the placement of hooks, eyes and lining colour. She even let me choose a monogram!

Elise Gasbarrino at HSG Furs

I am beyond pleased with the final product. The coat is not only something that I will wear, but a treasure that I will hopefully pass on to a daughter of my own one day.
From Oct. 17-31,  HSG Furs is taking appointments for restyles at their Yorkville and Scarborough locations. You can set up an appointment by calling (416) 614-7785. 

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