PETA is coming to Kylie Jenner's defense. The reality star attended the Schiaparelli spring 2023 couture show at the Petit Palais in Paris on Monday wearing a dress with a life-size lion's head attached to it. Afterward, many on social media were critical of the hyper-realistic gown.
The same black velvet bustier dress was worn by model Irina Shayk down the runway, and the show also featured the life-like heads of a snow leopard and wolf attached to garments worn by Shalom Harlow and Naomi Campbell, respectively. Many online were concerned that these dresses featured the real heads of animals. However, they were actually all hand-sculpted out of foam, hand-embroidered with wool and silk faux fur, and then hand painted to look as realistic as possible.
While some accused Jenner and the brand of promoting big game hunting and taxidermy of these wild animals with the designs, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals thought that those finding issue with these outfits were taking things a little too far. PETA defended the Schiaparelli collection in a statement, calling the animal heads “fabulously innovative.” PETA President Ingrid Newkirk wrote, “Kylie, Naomi, and Irina’s looks celebrate the beauty of wild animals and may be a statement against trophy hunting, in which lions and wolves are torn apart to satisfy human egotism.” She added, “These fabulously innovative three-dimensional animal heads show that where there’s a will, there’s a way. We encourage everyone to stick with 100% cruelty-free designs that showcase human ingenuity and prevent animal suffering.” Newkirk then encouraged Jenner and other stars to “extend this creativity to exclude sheep shorn bloody for wool and silkworms boiled alive in their cocoons.”
Shayk, who wore the lion dress on the runway, also came out in defense of these remarkable feats of design, sharing a carousel of behind-the-scenes photos from the event on her Instagram. “I support these incredible artists who worked tirelessly, with their hands, using wool, silk, and foam, to sculpt this embroidered Lion, and image of Pride, An image that @schiaparelli invokes while exploring themes of strength,” the model wrote in the caption. “I am honored to have been called on as well to lend my art as a woman to this,” she concluded tagging the brand's designer Daniel Roseberry and adding a black heart emoji.
Roseberry explained in the notes for his latest runway collection that it was inspired by Dante's Inferno, and those three dresses are based on the three beasts that appear in the 14th-century poem “representing lust, pride, and avarice.” The designer also told Vogue France that the three dresses are meant to “celebrat[e] the beauty of nature and guarding the woman who wears it.” And in the show's notes, he added, “This collection is my homage to doubt. I wanted to step away from techniques I was comfortable with and understood, to choose instead that dark wood where everything is scary but new.”
This story first appeared in Vanity Fair.
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