Controversy in the Wild Kingdom of Couture 1 Favorite 



Jan 25 2023



PARIS — Ten a.m. on a frigid Monday morning, the first day of the couture shows, and Kylie Jenner was strutting through the marble halls of the Petit Palais trying to find her seat for Schiaparelli, shoehorned into spiky stilettos and a black velvet one-arm gown, a full-size tawny lion’s head jutting from the side. It was as if Aslan had taken a break from Narnia and stuck his muzzle through a time-space continuum under her armpit. Or maybe it was Take Your Stuffed Toy to Work Day?

Nope: It was a dress so hot off the runway it hadn’t even appeared on the runway yet — though it was about to, along with a strapless faux-fur sheath with a snow leopard head jutting from the bust, its mouth open in mid-roar, and a big, hairy black silk and wool coat with a wolf’s snout emerging from the shoulder.

Painstakingly sculpted from resin, painted by hand in the couture atelier, the faux animal heads were supposed to represent the vices of Dante’s “Inferno” — lust, pride, avarice — according to the Schiaparelli designer Daniel Roseberry. He used the poem as something of a metaphor for his own experience with the pressure to create the new; to make everyone sit up in wonder.

So the fake animal heads collided with real animal rights and Jenner/Kardashian mores, and for a time the explosion swallowed the digisphere whole. Were the looks promoting big game hunting, even though they didn’t come from nature, or were they celebrating the beauty of the wild, as PETA declared, and facilitating “an anti-trophy-hunting dialogue”? Were they actually a metaphor for going after the rich — hunting them, eating them, selling to them — or were they a gimmick gone wrong?

Objectively, they were kind of silly, and the whole hoo-ha verged on the surreal (which makes sense for Schiaparelli, a house rooted in surrealism). But in their viral ubiquity, they also set the tone for the week, and the shows that unspooled thereafter.

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As the public claimed that her outfit seemed to project animals as a form of fashion through comments such as One critic dismissed the dress as “one of your worst fashion mistakes of all time.” “A big no no,” a fifth person chided. “Very disturbing and could promote animal abuse indirectly.” Many of Jenner’s followers criticized her personally for modelling the lifelike design. “I can’t believe you would stoop this low. It’s tacky and disgusting,” one detractor fired off, with another accused her of making “a terrible fashion mistake.” But not everyone was upset by the outfit. PETA applauded Jenner’s fashion statement in a message to TMZ. “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,” the organization’s president Ingrid Newkirk said. The animal rights community was triggered by her actions, creating a stronger campaign to improve animal rights and the use of fur and animals as a form of fashion. However with such a powerful figure like Jenner, the campaign may not have accomplished completely eradicating using animals as a form of fashion.