A fashion house says no animals were harmed in the making of a dress featuring an ultra-realistic lion’s head seen on Kylie Jenner’s shoulder and the catwalk at Paris fashion week.
Jenner arrived at Schiaparelli’s couture runway show in Paris wearing a dress from the designer’s collection featuring a fake lion’s head.
The gown, designed by Schiaparelli, prompted accusations of promoting animal cruelty and glamorising trophy hunting – but some animal rights activists came out in support of the collection.
A nearly identical version of the dress was later modelled on the runway by Irina Shayk.
Dresses featuring a faux-taxidermy snow leopard and a wolf modelled by Naomi Campbell were also seen in the show.
Schiaparelli posted a video of Jenner on Instagram, detailing the materials used to make the lion: “Hand sculpted foam, wool and silk faux fur… hand painted to look as life-like as possible.”
The brand added in capital letters: “NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN MAKING THIS LOOK.”
But Carrie Johnson, animal rights campaigner and wife of former prime minister Boris Johnson, described the designs as “grim”, writing on Instagram: “Real or fake this just promotes trophy hunting. Yuck.”
‘Where there’s a will, there’s a way’
However, animal rights charity PETA – which named Mrs Johnson as its “person of the year” in 2020 – came out in defence of the fake looks.
In a statement, PETA founder Ingrid Newkirk told Sky News: “Kylie’s look celebrates lions’ beauty and may be a statement against trophy hunting, in which lion families are torn apart to satisfy human egotism.
“These fabulously innovative three-dimensional animal heads show that where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Despite PETA’s stance, many people expressed their distaste with Schiaparelli’s designs on the brand’s Instagram page.
One commenter wrote: “No matter how you justify it to your models and celebrities – the faux animal couture is a huge problem with implications you don’t understand… Even though NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED the concept promotes wearing animals for fashion and a disgusting out of touch mentality the elite continue to suffer from.”
Another comment, which has received thousands of likes, said: “We have to stop showing animals as luxury
‘products’. They may be made from foam, but these are endangered species that have historically been killed for their pelts to be turned into garments.”
There were those who came to the brand’s defence however, with some saying the designs were art and were purposefully provocative.
One person wrote: “The whole point of haute couture is to be an art performance, a concept, shown on a person. It’s art, and the concept here is Dante’s inferno.”
Paris’s haute couture fashion week runs until Thursday, 26 January. The controversial Schiaparelli show kicked off the event on Tuesday.