WhoWHATWhereWhy: Pittsburgh skyline fur coat

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Even the woman who has everything doesn't have this! Carl W. Herrmann Furs Downtown is offering the perfect present for the Pittsburgh-proud woman. It's a sheared beaver stroller in onyx -- an almost black navy blue -- with the city skyline depicted in colored beaver across the bottom. And for extra measure, Heinz Field and PNC Park adorn the sleeves!

"We've done a lot of different things for customers along the way," says Guy Herrmann, president of Carl W. Herrmann Furs. "We had a gal who suggested we do the city of Pittsburgh. We toyed with the idea, and I thought even if we don't sell it, it's a conversation piece."

Mr. Herrmann commissioned the one-of-a-kind piece from a designer named Zuki in Montreal, one of the biggest fur centers in the world. He sent Zuki several different views of the skyline, the Point and the golden bridges, Pittsburgh icons he felt it was essential to include.

"When you hear designer you think of the body and shape of the coat, but Zuki's forte is intarsia, or inlay. A lot of people will dye designs on top of the fur, but he actually takes fur pieces dyed different colors to create his look. Some are abstract, floral, hearts, squiggly lines -- he runs the gamut."

The coat is made from beaver because it's a dense fur with a thick undercoat, necessary because beavers spend so much time in cold water. The thickness enables the fur to remain plush after it is sheared (think of a carpet), giving the design more dimension than a thin fur. The coat is priced at $8,500 and is a size 12 but can be altered to fit.

Carl W. Herrmann Furs is at 634 Smithfield St.; 412-281-5528.



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