Warm and fuzzy — Like it or not, we live in a point-and-click world. Especially now, during the holidays, when shopping goes online and it's all rush and hurry and I Need It Yesterday, please. The Sly Fox is a little different. Hidden away from the street and decidedly a boutique business, Henry J. McElhone's Old Naples shop doesn't garner many curious window shoppers. But behind what seems like an ordinary office door is an oasis of 1950s big-city luxury. The walls are gilded and hung with Hollywood pin-ups; the shop floor displays some of the world's finest fur coats. It's like entering another era, which is how McElhone intended The Sly Fox when he moved the shop from Petosky, Mich., to Naples. Friends thought he was crazy to try fur in Florida, he recalls — but crazy, he has proved, like a fox. McElhone didn't begin working with fur until his 30s; then, he says, he became 'addicted.' He apprenticed in New York City and became a master furrier. There are only about 500 master furriers in the United States, and the distinction means he can handle the entire fur process, from making the coat to selling it. He can do the dramatic (snip apart a $45,000 Russian sable and recreate it) or the ordinary (slip it into cold storage until your next trip to Chicago). The additional skills have proved invaluable, he says, especially in Naples, a town where superior service is prized above almost all. The Sly Fox may exude calm and cool, but business is brisk and McElhone and his wife, Joanne, occasionally do chase their tails. And as for that aura of classic glamour, don't let it imply anything old-fashioned or stodgy, McElhone explains. Neapolitans in their furs are anything but boring. 'Naples, in the 19 years I've been here, has really become hip,' he says. Published December 11, 2006

Photo by ERIK KELLAR, Daily News

Warm and fuzzy — Like it or not, we live in a point-and-click world. Especially now, during the holidays, when shopping goes online and it's all rush and hurry and I Need It Yesterday, please. The Sly Fox is a little different. Hidden away from the street and decidedly a boutique business, Henry J. McElhone's Old Naples shop doesn't garner many curious window shoppers. But behind what seems like an ordinary office door is an oasis of 1950s big-city luxury. The walls are gilded and hung with Hollywood pin-ups; the shop floor displays some of the world's finest fur coats. It's like entering another era, which is how McElhone intended The Sly Fox when he moved the shop from Petosky, Mich., to Naples. Friends thought he was crazy to try fur in Florida, he recalls — but crazy, he has proved, like a fox. McElhone didn't begin working with fur until his 30s; then, he says, he became "addicted." He apprenticed in New York City and became a master furrier. There are only about 500 master furriers in the United States, and the distinction means he can handle the entire fur process, from making the coat to selling it. He can do the dramatic (snip apart a $45,000 Russian sable and recreate it) or the ordinary (slip it into cold storage until your next trip to Chicago). The additional skills have proved invaluable, he says, especially in Naples, a town where superior service is prized above almost all. The Sly Fox may exude calm and cool, but business is brisk and McElhone and his wife, Joanne, occasionally do chase their tails. And as for that aura of classic glamour, don't let it imply anything old-fashioned or stodgy, McElhone explains. Neapolitans in their furs are anything but boring. "Naples, in the 19 years I've been here, has really become hip," he says. Published December 11, 2006

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