Fur flies as Fendi debuts fur haute couture and activists protest

Animal rights activists protesting against Fendi in Paris.
Animal rights activists protesting against Fendi in Paris.PHOTO: EPA

PARIS (REUTERS) - Italian luxury label Fendi made its haute couture debut with an "haute fourrure" or high fur collection in Paris on Wednesday as a group of animal rights activists protested outside.

Security in front of the Theatre des Champs Elysees was tight ahead of the runway show of mainly fur coats, capes and stoles, designed by Fendi creative director Karl Lagerfeld for 2015/16.

A group of about 20 demonstrators shouted and carried banners reading "Fur: Stop torture" or "Fendied", as the fashionista crowd waited to enter the venue.

They were quickly intercepted by the police and led away. One woman ripped off a coat to reveal a red body suit.

Animal rights group Fondation Brigitte Bardot said it was behind the protest.

French actress and animal rights campaigner Bardot last month tweeted a picture of a letter she wrote to Lagerfeld's cat, Choupette, asking the feline to "purr in papa Karl's ear" to persuade the designer to stop using fur in his creations.

Lagerfeld told The New York Times in an interview this year that he was "very sympathetic" to the anti-fur cause but that getting rid of the industry would lead to workers losing jobs. "For me, as long as people eat meat and wear leather, I don't get the message. It's very easy to say no fur, no fur, no fur, but it's an industry," he said.

The collection was made up mainly of black and white coats of various lengths, some decorated with feathers. There were also shades of pink and cream.

The show marked Fendi's couture catwalk debut in the French capital, as well as Lagerfeld's 50 years with the luxury label, which is known for its fur atelier.

Paris Haute Couture fashion week ends on Thursday.