It's no secret that PETA has a historically contentious relationship with Fashion Week. Known for throwing red paint on those who arrive at shows in fur, as well as for targeting designers whose lines include fur, the passionate animal rights organization has stepped on more than a few toes while communicating their message.
That certainly was not the case last night, when fashionable animal lovers united at Stella McCartney's boutique on 14th Street for a fabulous PETA bash hosted by PETA spokespersons, Chief Creative Officer of Liz Claiborne, Tim Gunn; Oscar-nominated actress (for The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) Teraji P. Henson; and comedian-actress Olivia Munn.
Unlike the aggresiveness that colors other of PETA's efforts, Gunn, Henson and Munn provided intelligent, passionate, thoughtful commentary on why they work so hard to campaign against the use of fur in clothing production. Henson, who just recently posed nude for a "Fur? I'd rather go naked." PETA campaign, talked about her process of transforming her former, fur-wearing self into a woman passionate about faux substitutes, after a night of channel surfing led to her the PETA program, "I Am Animal."
“I was horrified and haunted by what I saw,” Henson explained. “When I realized what went into the fur on your gloves or on your jacket, what goes into killing those animals, it ripped my heart out."
And just to hit their point home, they showed a film produced and narrated by Gunn that depicted the violent killing of rabbits, foxes, alligators, snakes, and more, in order to collect their fur for production. Images of animals being slaughtered alive sent home the stars' sobering, yet poignant, message.
In this case, Gunn, Munn and Henson agreed: it's all about awareness.
“I respect the decisions people make," Gunn explained, "but I wanted them to know if they chose to use fur, where it came from.” A point that rang clear, and was met with wild applause by the audience.
Although Stella McCartney was not present, her work was heavily lauded by the stars, who praised the designer for standing up for animal rights and working so proactively to eliminate the use of fur from both her collections, as well as advocating for the dismissal of fur amongst her peers.
“Stella’s work has helped to redefine and recalibrate our thinking,” said Gunn. “Higher-end brands have said they couldn’t exist without fur. Stella proves, of course you can.”
A life without fur? A horrifying concept to many, indeed. But fabulousness need not abate.
“You can get a fake fur coat," Henson reminded the crowd. "I have one. It’s fabulous.”
— Amanda Aldinger
Images: Amanda Aldinger
See the Top Ten Summer 2016 Trends for Women Over 40