NEW YORK -- A change of heart has come between Calvin Klein and his fur coat collection. The designer announced Thursday he was bowing out of the fur business.
Klein quietly ended his fur license with Alixandre last November after 17 years, and now he has decided he won't be returning to that market.
"I've had these feelings that I was not comfortable with doing fur," said Klein. "That's the reason I let the license lapse. We just let it go."
Klein said that he was still undecided on what to do about fur "until we were mildly attacked by PETA [People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals]."
Last month members of PETA stormed the designer's offices here, plastering anti-fur slogans on the walls and doors and leaving behind leaflets. Subsequently Klein invited PETA members to his headquarters for a meeting, in which he watched a video documenting how animals are trapped and killed in the wild and on fur farms.
"They [PETA] didn't know we were no longer in the fur business," he said, "but we had discussions afterward, and that's when I really made the decision to no longer do furs."
"Obviously this is not a new controversy," said Dab Mathews, PETA's director. "It had crossed his mind before, but a protest like the one we did rivets people to pay attention."
However, fur industry executives say that just isn't so.
"This is just PETA's typical way of claiming that their actions have convinced people not to wear fur," said Karen Handel, director of media relations and government affairs for the Fur Information Council of America. "Their actions against individuals haven't worked, so now their new tactic is to go against designers," she said. "And it's not going to fly."
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“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia