Northern furs in vogue
Fashion show features award-winning designer

Michele LeTourneau
Northern News Services

NNSL (Jun 21/99) - Fashion shows are nothing new to D'arcy Moses, fur designer and director of Nats'enelu, a Dene fashion design and production house in Fort Simpson.

The fur fashion show recently held in Yellowknife to launch the new Mackenzie Valley Fur collection, which Moses designed, was somewhat different.

"The difference in holding a show in, say, Manhattan is that it's a large venue, where there's tens of thousands of dollars spent in an hour," says the Dene designer whose first collection won La Griffe d'Or, one of Canada's most coveted fashion design awards.

Besides winning several other awards in his field of fur design, Vogue, Paris Vogue, Pellici Moda (Italy), Essence, Elle, W and the New York Times have all featured his work.

"Holding one in the North, it was a realization that I've come full circle in a way. Meaning that I've had the training and the exposure in the south and now I'm applying those skills on raw materials, designs and ideology of the North."

According to Moses, the Northern fashion show went very smoothly and bodes well for the fur fashion industry in the North.

"It's growing, provided there's a market for it, provided there's support for it, politically and financially, provided people are interested in developing some sort of garment trade in the North. Whether it's fur or fur and leather fashions or outerwear with fur trim. Is Yellowknife ready for that kind of factory? And I think it is. I think it's long overdue."

The first Mackenzie Valley fur collection had thirty pieces, all coats of various lengths.

Already Moses is looking ahead a year, to bring a collection down to Montreal to the North American Fur & Fashion exposition. He had a booth this year but the collection was incomplete.

"Next year we're hoping to have a showing at the gala," says Moses.

Meanwhile, the present collection will travel the communities.

"This weekend it's going to Norman Wells, then I have a show with it in Jean Marie. We're developing a schedule to show all of the communities what can be done with it. It's a mixture of fur and fashion and the economics of retail. If you can have a really great collection and you have buyers buying and you use purely Mackenzie Valley furs then it creates a demand."

Dene Fur Clouds, Aklavik & Tuktoyaktuk Furs Ltd. (Heidi Trautmann, designer) and Just Furs (Kristine Bourque, designer) also participated in the successful fashion show.