An Obituary for a Man – and for Times Past

Commentary, Regulation, Owen McShane

Bryan Southcombe died on 7th March, aged 69, and my wife and I attended his funeral and the après funeral on March 14th.

While much of the day focused on personal memories I found myself pondering the way the world had changed during the expansive and remarkable “Life of Bryan”, a man who had kept the company of film stars, entertainers, Presidents, and Kings.

My first dealings with Bryan were in 1985 as a venture-capital manager for the “Onyx Furs” project.

The ferret or fitch fur business, then developing in New Zealand, was proving vulnerable to the volatile pricing of commodity furs. A Nelson fur farmer had the idea of teaming up with ex-Nelsonian Bryan, who was living in France, to turn the furs into high fashion coats using New Zealand fur, French design and Korean manufacturers. Bryan was a colleague and neighbour of the famous photographer David Hamilton, who was keen to be a fashion designer and use his photographic skills to promote his own label. The team looked good.

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