Couture Can Kill

Credits: Photo - Anonymous, Styling - Sarah G. Schmidt, Location - 1700 Block of 1st & 2nd Ave NW


The couture collection presentations are in full swing and with couture comes luxury. The luxury brands, buyers, parties and, of course, fabrics were on opulent display. Silk, velvet, feathers, wool, and fur, to name a few such beautiful, textured fabrics. You know what those all have in common? They come from an animal. Za Za Zoo. Reviewing the couture presentations I started to think about how some people get very vocal about the animal products used in the collections.

Fashion designers and brands have long been under PETA's relentless scrutiny and couture is no exception. From what I can surmise, activist groups scream at fur the most out of all of the animal products included in the use of fashion. It’s all on display during couture. 

Fur seems to take the brunt of public scrutiny. In my experience, fur is very polarizing whereas leather, silk, wool, and feathers seem to fly under the red-alert radar. I wear animal products in my clothing and I eat all types of meat and animal products. Those are the facts. That’s my choice and my choice alone, though I acknowledge that may be gross to you.

I speak my mind about style and appreciate when others do too. But sometimes people are assholes. For example, I love catching a hypocrite mid-bite into a juicy steak asking me how I can wear fur while she is wearing leather shoes, belt, and toting a suede handbag. She may even be wearing a silk blouse. Ah Ha! You’re right my fur is deplorable

Beauty products, too, have been shamed for their ingredients and testing practices. Many have made successful businesses using vegan values in their favour. Do not fear vegan friends, Sephora’s community blog has a list of animal testing free/gluten/vegan friendly brands that they carry. Peruse away.

Enough about me, sheesh. As always, the purchasing power is in the individual’s control. At the bare minimum if it’s not your thing, don’t click, try or buy it. It’s that simple. If you’re feeling inspired to do more, join a cause that you align with and help them advocate. 

The fantastic thing about couture is that it is up to the client. The client’s specific wishes are the core of what couture is. Google defines couture as:

  • noun
  • the design and manufacture of fashionable clothes to a client's specific requirements and measurements
  • Example: fashionable made-to-measure clothes
  • Used in a sentence: "they were dressed in size eight printed-silk couture" (Anyone else notice that silk was used in the sentence? Coincidence or conspiracy?)

Designers will often create with a muse in mind. That muse may be a hot and fast fling or it can turn into a full-blown brand ambassador business relationship. Consider the partnerships between Chanel and Kristen Stewart, Julianne Moore, or Rinko Kikuchi. Have you noticed Dior’s relationship with Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lawrence, or most recently, Rihanna? Another muse of Dior’s is Natalie Portman who is a vocal vegan. She told New York Magazine’s The Cut years ago how she makes her brand ambassador relationship work without compromising her values:

"One of the things that’s been so nice is that Dior made all of the shoes for me with no animals and no leather or anything because I don’t wear any leather… They remade all my shoes so I can wear Dior shoes without taking lives."

Good for her. And Dior.

While I whiz through the couture collections I often think about what star will wear what specific piece to what event. It may, or may not include an fabric or fibre from an animal. It all depends on who is wearing it. I, too, daydream about who in my life would wear the shit out of it. I get caught up in the wonder and that’s the magic of couture fashion.

Perhaps one day my couture dreams will come true. Until then, I continue to curate my list of hypothetical, specific requirements.