No more croc­o­dile tears

CHANEL RENOUNCES EX­OTIC PELTS. WILL OTHER LUX­URY BRANDS FOL­LOW SUIT?

The Nation - - LIVING IT UP -

CHANEL HAS be­come the first lux­ury fash­ion house to turn its back on ex­otic an­i­mal pelts such as lizard, croc­o­dile and snake skin, in a move hailed by an­i­mal rights groups Tues­day.

Its head of fash­ion Bruno Pavlovsky de­clared that it “would no longer use ex­otic skins in our fu­ture cre­ations”, say­ing it was be­com­ing more dif­fi­cult to source high-qual­ity pelts eth­i­cally.

Hand­bags, coats and shoes made from snake, al­li­ga­tor and stingray skin com­mand pre­mium prices, with Chanel hand­bags made from them re­port­edly sell­ing for up to 9,000 eu­ros (Bt334,000).

Python skin bags were removed from Chanel’s web­site Tues­day, al­though sec­ond-hand bags were still on sale from more than 5,500 eu­ros from on­line re­sale sites.

An­i­mals rights groups cheered the move, with the PETA and the Hu­mane So­ci­ety In­ter­na­tional (HSI) claim­ing that the iconic house founded by Coco Chanel was also re­nounc­ing the use of fur.

But in a state­ment Chanel did not men­tion fur, say­ing it would no longer use croc­o­dile, lizard, snake and stingray to make coats, bags and shoes.

Its vet­eran de­signer Karl Lager­feld had ear­lier told the in­dus­try bi­ble Women’s Wear Daily that Chanel used fur so rarely that he could not re­mem­ber the last time it fea­tured on the cat­walk.

He said the brand had cho­sen to drop ex­otic skins rather than hav­ing it “im­posed on us. We did it be­cause it’s in the air.

“It’s a free choice,” he added. An­i­mal rights groups hailed Chanel as giv­ing a lead to other lux­ury brands.

By turn­ing its back on ex­otic skins, “Chanel is sav­ing count­less crocodiles, lizards, snakes and stingrays from suf­fer­ing,” said HSI direc­tor Claire Bass.

“The growth in fab­u­lous lux­ury and eco-friendly fi­bres that don’t in­volve an­i­mals suf­fer­ing and dy­ing is help­ing to drive for­ward this new era of eth­i­cal fash­ion.

“Fur-us­ing brands such as Fendi (for which Lager­feld also de­signs), Dolce & Gab­bana and Louis Vuit­ton need to take heed and em­brace this fur-free fu­ture,” she added.

PETA also piled the pres­sure on Vuit­ton, which is owned by fash­ion gi­ant LVMH.

“It’s clear that the time is now for all com­pa­nies, like Louis Vuit­ton, to fol­low Chanel’s lead and move to in­no­va­tive ma­te­ri­als that spare count­less an­i­mals a mis­er­able life and a vi­o­lent, painful death,” it said.

Al­though top fash­ion brands have been un­der heavy pres­sure to re­nounce fur, with Gucci, Ar­mani, Ver­sace and John Gal­liano all de­cid­ing to go fur free, Chanel’s de­ci­sion to stop us­ing ex­otic skins came out of the blue.

It said that it was now con­cen­trat­ing on de­vel­op­ing a new gen­er­a­tion of “ul­tra lux­u­ri­ous” prod­ucts to re­place them from its famous de­sign stu­dios.

An­i­mal rights cam­paigns against the use of croc­o­dile and snake skin prod­ucts have not got the same trac­tion with the pub­lic as sim­i­lar cru­sades against fur, with some lux­ury brands even in­vest­ing in rep­tile farms so they can guar­an­tee that skins are sourced eth­i­cally.

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