Fur is out, at least at Chanel, which last week became the latest in an expanding roster of luxury brands to declare animal pelts déclassé.
The announcement marked a stunning reversal for creative director Karl Lagerfeld, who claimed as recently as 2015 that he didn’t understand the fuss over fur. “For me, as long as people eat meat and wear leather, I don’t get the message,” he told the New York Times. “Its very easy to say no fur, no fur, no fur, but it’s an industry. Who will pay for all the unemployment of the people if you suppress the industry of the fur?”
Though the couturier incorporated mole, rabbit, and squirrel pelts into his designs at Fendi, Chanel uses little fur, if at all. In fact, Lagerfeld told WWD he couldn’t remember the last time he “did fur” at Chanel. Founder Gabrielle Chanel might have owned a panther coat and a sable top, he said, but if “you look at old collections, there was not much fur.”
Still, Chanel is outlawing fur, along with exotic skins, Lagerfeld said, because “it’s in the air,” though not, as he insisted, “an air people imposed to us.”
Whatever is wafting around, it’s definitely catching. Once seen as the height of opulence, fur is falling out of favor with the foremost purveyors of glitz and glamor. The Yoox Net-a-Porter Group, which operates luxury e-tailer Net-a-Porter, refuses to traffic in it. Neither will Burberry, Coach, Gucci, Giorgio Armani, Hugo Boss, Jimmy Choo, Michael Kors, Ralph Lauren, or Versace, which have all gone from yea to nay on fur in the span of a few years, albeit for slightly different reasons.