C.A.S.H. Letters to the Editor > 2007

C.A.S.H. Letters

New York Fur - Letter to the Editor

To the New York Observer to [email protected] 


To The Editor:

While the recent article that touched on Michael Kors’ show during the latest Fashion Week mentioned the protests over the designer’s use of animal fur, it hardly gave the issue the attention it deserved.

The presence of protesters illustrates the continual need to educate designers about the cruelty behind every fur garment, but while some designers may be slow in evolving as moral individuals, government is beginning to catch on.

In a move that drove another nail into the coffin of the fur industry, the New York State Legislature unanimously passed a ban on electrocuting animals raised on fur farms, and on August 28th Governor Spitzer signed it into law. This is the first of what will hopefully become a wave of state-wide bans on the cruel and inhumane practice of genital, anal, and other forms of electrocution that have tortured animals born and killed on fur factory farms for decades.

What’s good for New York is good for the entire nation and the barbaric practice should be banned everywhere animals are being held captive for their fur. Fur farming and fur trapping are terrible abuses of wildlife and wildlife deserve our respect and protection from the industries that seek to exploit them for profit. To learn what you can do to help wildlife in New York and elsewhere, visit www.wildwatch.org.

Joe Miele, Vice President
Wildlife Watch, Inc

Dry Clean‘08
by Simon Doonan

Published: September 11, 2007 - The New York Observer.

“Out, damned spot! Out, I say!”

Fashion Week has left me feeling a lot like Lady Macbeth. All I can think about are stains and spots. This obsessive state of mind is a function of two things:

First, there’re my eating habits. Every time I gobble down a between-show snack from ’wichcraft or Mangia, I end up with olive oil blotches on my couture. The madcap whirligig of fashion has turned me into a messy eater. People think I wear densely printed Liberty floral shirts because I like them. I wear them because they hide the multitude of sins and damned spots with which I seem doomed to bespatter my raiment.

The second reason I’m channeling Lady Macbeth relates more directly to the spring fashion trends. Here’s why: The garments that unfurled before my eyes last week were, almost without exception, terrifyingly fragile. Every delicate blouse and filmy frock seemed to scream, “Hold the dressing!” Some considerate designers like Derek Lam actually sent out garments in pre-spotted prints. Most did not. It was lunch-lady clothing minus the lunch. As I viewed the parade of crepes-de-chines and diaphanous chiffons, they were intercut, in mind’s eye, with images of Britney Spears wiping her greasy paws—as she is alleged to have done at a recent photo shoot—on that Gucci frock. However, you don’t have to be a reckless funster like La Spears to garf up the garments in question. From the ivory sateens and organzas at Doo. Ri to the fragile white cottons at Narciso Rodriguez, spring will be the season of the stain. Invest in dry-cleaning stocks now.

Is there a malevolent agenda behind the promotion of such exquisitely fragile stain-prone garments? Silly question. Of course there is: In my mind there is no question that the designers are willfully and wickedly widening the already gaping chasm between fashion and food. Naughty designers! Isn’t the fashion flock cadaverous enough already!

Every season the dramatis personae of Fashion Week seem to get thinner and thinner, with the notable exception of the brilliantly talented duo Costello Tagliapietra. “How do two big butch hairy blokes manage to produce such beautifully delicate frocks?” I asked Jeffrey Costello and Robert Tagliapietra in a kind and caring way backstage after their show. “With our big bear paws,” replied Robert, alluding to the fact that these two handsome burly lumberjills are members of that gay subculture, the Bear Community. In fact, Robert and Jeffrey may well be this group’s most prominent celebrities.

And while we’re on the subject of furry animals …

“Gassing! Trapping! Anal execution! GASSING! TRAPPING! ANAL EXECUTION!” These were the words—shrieked repeatedly at startled show attendees by a large group of placard-wielding fur activists—that greeted me as I arrived at the Michael Kors show at the tents in Bryant Park on Sunday. “Michael Kors! Michael Kors! How did you get your fur today?” they shrieked.

“I don’t think they know this is the spring collection,” said photographer Piper Carter with a chuckle.

The fur-free Kors show was the very polar opposite of gassing and trapping and was singularly devoid of any anal execution. Michael Kors spring garments—a cavalcade of sherbert and white jet-set glamour—are a siren call to a life of luxury and indolence. Remember: You cannot stain your clothes if you are not actually doing anything.

Activity=stains. So wake up all you super-industrious overachieving career gals. The times are a-changing. As I watched the lightweight lime cashmeres and leg-accentuating cabana coats skip insolently down the runway, I thought of the utter pointlessness of relentless accomplishment, frantic BlackBerrying and messy salad-gobbling. Why be a stressed-out freak, these clothes seemed to say, when you can be an underachieving horizontale, lounging in a Biarritz cabana while some gorgeous bloke in gold sunglasses rubs your tootsies.

Michael Kors was not the only designer telling us to lighten up: “Screw work. I’m off to a tropical island,” screeched the clothes of Diane von Furstenberg, a longtime proponent of the why-be-glum-when-you-can-be-shrieking-with-laughter-on-a-yacht aesthetic.

Clearly fashion is flipping the bird to that mood of existentialist gloom—no more anal executions!—which has dominated fashion since the new century began. And so is Anna Wintour. The tents were abuzz with rumors that the Vogue editor in chief had skipped the Philip Lim show to watch Roger Federer. Quelle Horreur! Not. Trust me, this marks the beginning of a new less-work-focused era. Putting aside the fact that La Wintour has been tirelessly supportive of young designers—way beyond anything they actually deserve—she should be applauded for her healthy, balanced commitment to leisure pursuits. And moi aussi! If it hadn’t been for the fact that my husband was recording Britney’s comeback on the Video Music Awards, I would definitely have bagged Sunday night’s shows to watch La Spears waddle endearingly through her big number. Judging by Brit’s fabulously turgid, phoned-in performance, she too has caught the “I’m sick of working” bug.

“How now, you secret, black and midnight hags!” I was praying that Marc Jacobs would show all-black clothing for spring, thereby allowing me to use this great line from Macbeth and thereby reprise my opening theme and thereby finish this column and thereby go to bed at a reasonable hour. I managed to get to bed before turning into a midnight hag, but only just. And, here’s the real shocker, I never saw any clothes. Yes, the late, the very late Mr. Jacobs did it again. I have no idea what time the Marc Jacobs show actually started, but I’m sure that when it did, it was perfectly lovely. All together now, “Gassing, trapping and anal execution!”

P.S. Just asking: Does anyone know how much money Demi Moore, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Mischa Barton, Hilary Swank and Clive Owen were each paid to sit in the front row of the Miss Sixty show? Most fashion insiders seem to be of the opinion that they received about one hundred thousand bucks each, plus a lifetime supply of Miss Sixty garments. Thoughts?


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