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Lifelong calling

Published: Monday, April 28, 2014 11:38 a.m. CDT

Christos Taltsidis is a native of Greece, a Master Furrier, and owner of Christos Fur Salon in Westchester. He specializes in taking older furs and refurbishing and redesigning them in to modern and fashionable pieces of wearable art. Editor Sherri Dauskurdas took some time to chat with Christos about his shop and his career.

DAUSKURDAS: What is the history of Christos Fur Salon? How long has the shop been operating and how long have you personally, been a part of the fur business?

TALTSIDIS: The shop has been here 10 years, but I have been in the business since I was 12 years old, working for a furrier back in Greece. Everyone in family thought I should go into show business. But I wanted to be a fur artist. I started sweeping flowers and bringing bread to the boss’s family for their lunch.  It was hard, because they needed an errand boy and my goal was to learn how to sew. It wasn’t until I was 14 or 15 that they put me on a machine, and even then they gave me newspapers to sew with no needle! Soon I was sewing mink sections. At age16 I came to Chicago. Even then, in 1977, there was a shortage of furriers. So I went into the building at State and Lake streets where all the fur manufacturing was located, and I worked for every leading furrier in Chicago. I wanted to learn the best from every fur shop.

DAUSKURDAS: What is involved with becoming a “master furrier”? 

TALTSIDIS: To be a master furrier you have to know how to make a new mink coat, how to make your own patterns. Clients come to me and I revamp all those coats.  I make my own. I am not a dealer. I redesign–bigger, smaller, longer. You’d be shocked and surprised what you can achieve.

DAUSKURDAS: What are the latest trends in fur fashion, which customers can find at Christos?

TALTSIDIS: We do a lot of shearing, grooving and reversible (fur to leather) We make boleros, trim for wedding gowns and accessories, and even home fashions. Anything with a surface, Christos can make a pattern and cover it. The sky’s the limit!

DAUSKURDAS: You’ve been in one industry virtually your entire life, since childhood. Do you still love it as much as you did in the early years?

TALTSIDIS: When I was learning, the furriers used to give me a key and I would work until 1 a.m. After they left, I would take a tape measure and put it round my neck and look at myself in the mirror to see how I would look when my time came to go in the showroom. I’d say to myself. “Christos…you don’t deserve it yet.” Now, here I am, and it’s getting more interesting as the years go by.

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