Animal rights protestors outside Burberrys show


LONDON — Hundreds of antifur demonstrators gathered in front of the Burberry show here shouting, “shame on London Fashion Week” and “shame on Burberry” on Saturday.

Brandishing placards and megaphones, they admonished editors and guests arriving at the show, who included Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell and Gosha Rubchinskiy.

Police in yellow vests held back the protesters, clearing a narrow passage for people to enter Old Sessions House.

The show, set to a soundtrack of Pet Shop Boys hits, included shearling robe-style coats in candy colors. But there was no noticeable fur in Burberry’s see-now-buy-now “September” collection for men and women.

“Blood on your hands,” and “shame on you,” the protesters screamed at guests as they exited.

The noisy action seemed out of proportion a day after a bomb ripped through a carriage at Parson’s Green Tube station and the nation upgraded its terror alert to the highest level, meaning an attack could be imminent.

Caroline Rush, chief executive officer at the British Fashion Council, said that the organization has been working with the police to heighten security measures and ensure that the protests remain peaceful. “We take security very seriously; yesterday we were in constant contact with the police. This morning we had a security meeting to make sure all of the measures are in place. You’ll see at our main venue that there [are] bag searches and there is a very tightly controlled security procedure. We operate at a very high level of security in any case. You know we’re an international event and we want to make sure that our priority is that everyone’s safety and wellbeing come first.”

Scores of police vans had converged on the scene to control the crowd.

Antifur protesters in the U.K. have been making their presence felt at London Fashion Week since the opening day, with three models and PETA supporters gathering outside 180 Strand — the official British Fashion Council venue — on Friday morning, wearing faux leather dresses and skeleton face paint and holding signs with slogans such as “Leather is dead” or “I wouldn’t be caught dead wearing animal skin.”

As a result the BFC issued a statement advising showgoers to avoid wearing fur during the weekend: “We have been made aware that there might be fur protesters outside…on the afternoons of Friday, Saturday and Sunday of London Fashion Week. We are managing the situation…to ensure the demonstration is managed correctly and with limited impact. For this reason, we would advise you to avoid wearing any kind of fur, real or fake, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday,” read the e-mail that was sent out.

Rush added: “The thing about free speech is that everyone has a right to protest and we saw a little bit yesterday, a little bit today. Obviously [protesters] see the bigger shows as an opportunity to get more media attention. While we want to have a fantastic fashion week, we’ll continue to have a dialogue with designers on their thoughts on fur.”

Last week, during New York Fashion Week, animal rights activists also interrupted the presentation of Olivia Palermo’s collection for Banana Republic. As models headed outside the brand’s Fifth Avenue store to stand on a podium, animal rights activists showed up with pickets and started screaming about Palermo’s use of fur in her personal life.

“Animal skin is not fashion. Where the hell is your compassion?” they shouted. Philly Stallone, one of the New York animal defenders, said about Palermo, “She uses fur and came out with phone cases made out of baby calves. It was unbelievable to have phone cases trade on a life.”

A representative from Banana Republic said: “A couple of individuals made an unsuccessful attempt to interrupt the presentation of our fall collection and new Banana Republic x Olivia Palermo collection that we held for our customers at our Flatiron store on Saturday. Security handled the matter immediately by escorting these individuals away and ensured all models, guests and staff were safe and the event could continue.”

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