If you’ve been keeping up with fashion controversies circling the globe, you’d also know about Karl Lagerfeld’s fur controversy with PETA. But do you really know what happened there? Or why were things so heated with Fendi’s fur show? Let’s find out!
Animal rights organization PETA condemned Italian fur-maestro brand Fendi after their announcement of an haute couture fur show back in 2015. Soon after, the brand’s creative director Karl Lagerfeld voiced his opinion, defending the use of fur in fashion. The legendary designer behind Chanel, Fendi, and his namesake brand, who recently passed away marking the end on an era, expressed that fur is an industry for many Americans while questioning critics who also eat meat.
In an interview, Mimi Bekhechi PETA’s UK Director told The Independent that Fendi’s ‘haute horreur’ and their hiring of Karl Lagerfeld, who dresses like an undertaker and enjoys putting corpses into his collections, is quite shameful and pathetic. Lagerfeld responded, it’s very easy to say no fur, no fur, no fur but it is an industry! Who will pay for all the unemployment of the people if they suppress the industry of fur? The hunters in the north of the sable have no other job and nothing else to do.
Indeed, there is a logical question in all the criticism that revolved around the man. For him, the problem with fur is that as long as people eat meat and wear leather or something to that extent, it’s all the same to him. Lagerfeld was known as an animal lover (especially because of his famous cat Choupette) but how does he reconcile his animal-loving instincts with those that love to design with fur. In response to what he said earlier regarding saying no to fur, he also stated that he hates the idea of killing animals in a horrible way, but a butcher shop is even worse if you compare that to fur manufacturing.
Fendi’s haute couture fur showcase
Fendi’s haute couture fur showcase marked the brand’s debut in the couture schedule but immediately witnessed anger from animal rights activists including PETA which staged a demonstration outside the show. Along with this, many British fashion editors also decided not to attend in order to express their contempt for the use of fur in fashion. Lagerfeld was met with immediate backlash as was Fendi’s extensive international customer base.
He presented fur as it was never seen before, with skirts, handbags and even cocktail gowns crafted from mink, fox and chinchilla fur – some of which took 600 hours to create. And for the protestors who waited outside the showcase venue, the Haute Fourrure collection was to become a regular addition to the Paris’ biannual couture schedule. PETA later responded to the news by declaring Lagerfeld as “heartless”.
PETA faces backlash
When the news broke of Karl Lagerfeld passing away, PETA released a statement that left some people shocked to their very core. The press release sent on behalf of PETA’s founder Ingrid Newkirk read, “Karl Lagerfeld has gone, and his passing marks the end of an era when fur and exotic skins were seen as covetable. PETA sends condolences to our old nemesis’s loved ones.” And the backlash on social media came shortly after. Since Lagerfeld had such a huge history of using furs as well as crocodile, lizard, snake and stingray skins in the clothing designed for Chanel, Fendi, and his own label, PETA didn’t hold any bars from expressing their opinion. However, in December 2018 Chanel announced that it would no longer use fur and exotic animal’s skin in its designs.
Other than Karl, PETA has also earned a controversial reputation of its own over the years, becoming known for its publicity stunts like dressing up in Ku Klux Klan hoods to protest the Westminster Dog Show and comparing animal cruelty to rape, slavery and the Holocaust.
From the IKF desk
Karl Lagerfeld’s Fur with PETA stirs I Knock Fashion with the question that animal rights becoming a huge deal in today’s time, usage of fur is something that has seen its downfall. Although, faux fur has kindly taken over exhibiting the same kind of luxe, grace, and charm as real fur did. But do we really believe in synthetic fur being the most environment-friendly choice when sustainability is another aspect that we’re trying to incorporate too?