Ermine Stoat (oil on board)
Stoats are related to the weasel family. They are found across the UK and hunt small rodents and rabbits. Their coats are usually black/brown with a white bib. However, in winter, stoats who live in colder climates may turn white for camouflage against the snow. These are known as 'Ermine'. However, the tips of their tales will always remain black.
Sadly, ermine stoats have for centuries been considered a valuable part of the fur industry, the fur being imported from Norway, Sweden, Russia and Siberia. As the trade expanded, the capture of wild animals was superseded by fur farming.
In the UK, Ermine was used as trimming on the robes of the judiciary and aristocracy. Those white ermine edges can be identified by their black spots. They are the tales of the stoat. However, in modern times, artificial fur is used.
Thankfully, today in the UK, increased awareness and changing attitudes has led to less demand for real fur, with many 'high end' brands turning away from the use of real animal fur. However, when buying what you believe to be faux 'fake' fur in the high street, don't be duped into buying the real thing. Some fur (rabbit and cat, for example) can be very cheap to buy, and as a result, you may think it's fake. However, it's cheap because some countries mass produce fur from animals which are kept in appalling conditions for very little cost.
Two ways you can avoid this pitfall:
1. Check the base of the fur. It should come out of a manmade, mesh material. If it looks like leather, it's real animal fur.
2. Check the thickness of the fur strands. Man-made fur has a uniform thickness. If it's real fur, it will taper at the end and come to a point.
For more information, watch The Ghosts in our Machine (Jo-Anne McArthur) on YouTube.
This morning at the beautiful Palais Garnier for @berluti’s show. A dark palette as winter deserves but with pops of color everywhere, from bright pink trench coats to cobalt blue leather shoes - You can actually see a lot more on my stories/highlights right now 😘 #berluti