No Animals were Harmed in the Making of Paris Fashion Week

Marziyah P (Year 9)

Paris Fashion Week is one of the most highly anticipated events in the fashion calendar, showcasing renowned designers’ most recent collections. Each show leaves the audience in complete shock by the eccentric fashion, and this year it did not disappoint.  

The iconic week consisted of 9 days filled with shows, events and celebrity appearances, and introduced fashion trends we can look forward to seeing throughout the year. Photographers swarmed the shows as models across various fashion houses entered the runway showcasing the latest collections, with select pieces and designs catching the media’s eye.  

Schiaparelli’s collection was a standout, flooding the runway with exaggerated silhouettes, gloves, shoes adorned with keyholes, and at least one oversized helmet reminiscent of the ancient Egyptian death mask.  

But it was pop superstar Doja Cat who turned heads as she sat front row covered head to toe in a ruby-studded ensemble. The look consisted of 30,000 hand-placed Swarovski crystals and paint that took nearly 5 hours to complete. However, Doja seems to think the meticulous work paid off as she grabbed the attention of the media, stating that, “couture is all about experimentation and pushing boundaries and we’re successful in showing the pure art of fashion.” There was no doubt she looked absolutely spectacular in the outfit, but it does leave me wondering how she took it all off. It’s a good thing it wasn’t featured in ready to wear 

Alongside Doja was social media fashion icon Kylie Jenner in yet another statement outfit. The influencer arrived at the opening show of Fashion Week wearing a strapless black velvet gown. But it was the faux lion head attached to the dress that created quite the kerfuffle on social media. The dress was worn by Kylie even before it hit the runway, and the creative director, Daniel Roseberry known for his iconography and surrealism, said that his collection was inspired by Dante’s Inferno, The Divine Comedy 


The animal heads on the dresses were of a lion, leopard, and she-wolf. According to Roseberry, they signified “lust, pride and avarice.” As a surrealist, Roseberry, included symbolism of these apex predators (top of the food chain and rulers of the animal kingdom) which were worn by three of the most prolific supermodels of our generation; Shalom Harlow, Naomi Campbell and Irina Shayk. Regardless of the director’s intention of “blurring the lines between the real and unreal”, animal lovers and the media have criticized the designer for portraying animals in the form of luxury.  

The fashion house is known for their surrealist art movement of the 1920’s and like many fashion houses of the time, the use of exotic fur and skin was the norm. Later, when the brand was revived in 2012, they avoided using real fur. After the media fire, Schiaparelli made a statement on the media in all caps, “NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN MAKING THIS LOOK,” containing the same disclaimer of animal welfare in caption. They claimed that they were made entirely by hand with wool, silk, foam, resin and other man-made materials. But this did not stop viewers from filling the comment section with outrage. 

Many activists are arguing that in a world where animal endangerment is a major issue, why should their heads be a part of Fashion Week?  

But on the other hand, some activists were all for the creativity, exclaiming that the collection of three-dimensional animal heads were “fabulously innovative” and “may be a statement against trophy hunting, in which lion families are torn apart to satisfy human egotism”. 

But is this controversy a surprise? Fashion Week has always been known for the boundary pushing spectacles created by designers, and the industry is heavily reliant on these spectacles to generate capital and attract the media. Another recent example was Coperni’s viral spray on dress 

 But has the fashion industry lost sight of the purpose of Fashion shows?  

Well, Schiaparelli sure gave audiences something to talk about and in doing so fueled media coverage. Perhaps this is what they were going for…  

With all things considered, I think Daniel Roseberry composed an impressive collection and I hope to see his bazaar designs grace the Runway shortly again.