Fashion has made celebrities of some pretty unlikely subjects, but the most recent one is highly unusual by any account: a slightly scraggly toy rabbit. Star Von Bunny, as she is called, is the invention of Kym Canter, creative director of J.Mendel, who dreamt up a jet-set life for the stuffed animal. Indeed, Von Bunny’s glamorous lifestyle has found her reading “Hamlet” with Mary-Louise Parker, walking the red carpet with Robert Downey Jr. and mugging for the camera with Jean Paul Gaultier (sticking to her “white food diet” all along the way). Canter has shot every moment and the resulting photographs appear in the new tome “Star Von Bunny: A Model Tale,” out Tuesday from HarperCollins. As Von Bunny’s self-appointed “stage mother,” Canter talked to WWD about life on the bunny trail.
WWD: Where on earth did you come up with this idea?
Kym Canter: I went to do a story ages ago on the plushie convention. I was going to do it for some indie magazine or wherever. Afterward I wanted to add more pictures, so I asked my assistant if she had her childhood stuffed animals and her mother found huge boxes full. Star just, you know, had something, and she really wanted it, so I started shooting her.
WWD: And carrying her around everywhere you went?
K.C.: Yes. She still goes tons of places with me. My friends are like, “You have to stop.” I just came back from Egypt and I shot her at the Pyramids, and I took her to the Middle East. She always goes to Paris.
WWD: Does she have her own seat on the plane?
K.C.: She’s pretty used to having her own seat. In the worst-case scenario, she’ll take an arm rest. She’s very spoiled. Her favorite mode of transportation is my Birkin bag.
WWD: In one of the photos, it looks like she’s carrying a mini rabbit-fur handbag.
K.C.: It is not rabbit, it’s mink.
WWD: So she’s not antifur.
K.C.: No, she’s antiplush. That’s the other joke. I wanted to do this protest in front of Prada, because they used plush [fur] in the fall collection, so all the stuffed animals were going to carry signs on toothpicks that said, “Save the Stuffed Animals.” But a couple of my friends thought that no one would get it because it’s such an insider fashion thing.
WWD: How did people like Carine Roitfeld and Christy Turlington, who pose with Star in the book, react to her?
K.C.: I’m not sure certain people 100 percent get it, but Carine always put a lot of stuffed animals in the magazine so I figured she was pretty stuffed-animal friendly. She styled Star in a small reproduction of an Olivier Theyskens dress. Christy was also great because part of the [proceed] money goes to Doctors Without Borders. We made Star this mini yoga mat, and we just suffered through all the downward dog jokes.
WWD: So after all this, how do you keep her clean?
K.C.: I have to say, she photographs really well and the light fills in the fur. But she has seen a washing machine, and a little Bounce is extremely helpful.
WWD: Does anyone ever tell you that you have too much time on your hands?
K.C.: No, more like the opposite. People say, “How did you do that with your job?”