A vendetta is brewing between Seoul City and Italian luxury brand Fendi over the use of fur at an upcoming fashion show in the South Korean capital. After two days of debate that ended on Monday, both parties remain far from compromise. “Fur is part of the DNA of Fendi,” according to a spokeswoman for Fendi in Korea. “We are really firm.” Under pressure from Korean animal-rights groups, however, the Seoul government is standing its ground, insisting that the June 2 event is a way of promoting its city to the world. Showcasing animal fur on the catwalk—and incurring the wrath of animal lovers—could be problematic for Seoul’s global image, according to officials. If Fendi doesn’t capitulate by removing all traces of fur, the show will most likely be canceled.
The affair wasn’t set to be just any ordinary runway show. With a celeb-infused guest list of over 1,200, the fashion house was preparing to float platforms onto the Han River, which runs through Seoul, to create a crowd-wowing catwalk—all live-streamed, of course.
Fendi was preparing to float platforms onto the Han River, which runs through Seoul, to create a crowd-wowing catwalk.
In response to the standoff, Michael Burke, Fendi’s CEO, released the following statement: “I met with Seoul city government officials last March and at this meeting there was agreed mutual excitement and cooperation for the execution of this premier event. I’m surprised to learn of Seoul City’s decision to possibly cancel the event if Fendi does not remove all fur pieces just two weeks before the event.”
So, who will win out: the multimillion dollar luxury label and its fur-loving ways or the Seoul government, which is taking the concerns of animal activists seriously (even if, as one Wall Street Journal pundit surmised, its reasons are more political than warm and fuzzy)? You’ll know as soon as we do.