A fashion show in Paris has been accused of glamorizing trophy hunting after a bizarre new collection saw celebrity models wearing gowns donned with realistic-looking, albeit faux, wild animal heads.
Daniel Roseberry, creative director of the French haute couture house Schiaparelli, debuted the collection today at the brand’s spring/summer 2023 show.
The heads of a wolf, lion, and snow leopard were depicted on dresses modeled by Naomi Campbell, Irina Shayk, and Shalom Harlow respectively. Kardashian family member Kylie Jenner, who sat front row at the runway event, also wore an oversized lion head on the shoulder of her gown.
The heads were crafted from foam, resin, wool, and silk-based faux fur.
“NO ANIMALS WERE HARMED IN MAKING THIS LOOK,” Schiaparelli assured its 1.7 million followers on Instagram posts about the collection. (This claim also raised eyebrows, as both wool and silk production have been linked to cruel practices and animal abuse.)
In creating the looks, Roseberry reportedly drew inspiration from poetry penned in the 14th century by Dante Alighieri. In Alighieri’s 14,233-line poem The Divine Comedy, the leopard, lion, and “she-wolf” represent lust, pride, and greed.
Roseberry said he wanted to celebrate “the glory of nature and guarding the woman who wears it.”
Schiaparelli show sparks controversy
Thousands of people flocked to the comment section of Schiaparelli’s Instagram – as well as British Vogue’s own post – to voice their disappointment in the show. Some dubbed it “disturbing,” while others accused the fashion house of being “out of touch” and promoting violence against animals.
German designer Cyrill Gutsch, founder of conservation gorup Parley for the Oceans, named the collection “unacceptable.”
“So wrong,” Gutsch wrote. “Even if the designer is not using real animals for this collection, why on Earth do we need to celebrate a visual reference of trophy hunting? The damage to these animals is done by spreading the idea that the killing of majestic creatures is ok.
“That makes it a pro big game hunting campaign. Unacceptable.”
Not all animal rights figures disapproved of the designs, however. PETA president Ingrid Newkirk described the heads as “fabulously innovative.”
In a statement to Page Six Style, she added: “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.”
What is trophy hunting?
Trophy hunting is a bloodsport that sees wild animals, referred to as “game,” hunted, killed, and displayed as “trophies” for human entertainment.
Lions, leopards, rhinos, and elephants are among the most commonly targeted species, along with bears, deer, and buffalo. However, hundreds of other species – including those that are endangered or threatened – are also victims of the trade.
In 2021, Humane Society International (HSI) commissioned research to learn more about Europeans’ stance on trophy hunting. It found that approximately 80 percent of those polled somewhat or strongly opposed the activity.
It’s a similar story in the United States, home to most of the world’s trophy hunters. There, more than 75 percent of people do not support trophy hunting, according to separate research from HSI.
Still, the bloodsport is legal in many parts of the world. As a result, a number of campaigns are working to put a stop to the industry. A petition that calls on the United Nations to ban trophy hunting and the export and import of its products has surpassed 510,000 signatures.