Métis capote hits the runway

Submitted by: Senator Carol Lévis, MNO Grand River Métis Council

CarolLevisCapote
MNO Senator Carol Lévis modelling her capote at
the Colourful Planet Fashion Show on April 2, 2014.

On April 2, 2014, Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) Grand River Métis Council Senator Carol Lévis had the honour of modeling her capote wrap-around coat at the Colourful Planet Fashion Show, a fundraising event for the Guelph and District Multicultural Festival.

The capote was created at a MNO Grand River Métis Council workshop held in 2013 and is constructed from a 100 per cent wool Hudson Bay Company (HBC) ‘point’ blanket. The ‘points’ are the thin black lines on the lapel that denote the original size of the blanket.  It was mistakenly thought at one time that the points referred to the number of beaver pelts required to purchase the jacket.

The capote was introduced to North America by the European fur traders who wore them for their heat retention and water repelling capabilities. They were widely traded and highly valued by First Nations, Métis and Europeans alike.

Each capote is unique. Senator Lévis’ capote has a rabbit fur trimmed hood, hood tassel, ties, shoulder cuffs, pockets, collar and detachable cape.  She belted her capote with a traditional Métis sash, finished all hems with the blanket stitch trim and retained the original HBC blanket label as is the practice.  Senator Lévis hopes to add decorative Métis beading in the future.

“Perhaps I need to spend more time with Mitchell Case to stay motivated,” she stated. Case has become well known for his beautiful beadwork.

Along with the capote, Senator Lévis modeled her deer-hide scout moccasins she made with beading on the toe plug as well as earrings and a necklace she made from beads, birch bark and porcupine quills.  She complimented the whole outfit by toting snowshoes and a mink pelt.

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