Chanel's fashion show with Grace Kelly's granddaughter riding a horse down the runway could have 'ended in disaster,' PETA says
- Princess Grace Kelly's granddaughter opened Chanel's Paris show by riding a horse down the runway.
- Charlotte Casiraghi is an experienced equestrian and rode her 8-year-old steed.
An animal-rights organization is criticizing Chanel for using a horse to open its couture show at Paris' Grand Palais Éphémère on Tuesday.
Kicking off Chanel's debut at Paris Couture Week 2022, Charlotte Casiraghi – granddaughter of Princess Grace Kelly of Monaco and Chanel's brand ambassador since 2020 – rode her 8-year-old Spanish bay horse Kuskus down the runway, Vogue reported.
According to Chanel's website, Casiraghi is a "distinguished horsewoman." The equestrian and model trotted down the runway wearing a collarless jacket paired with flared trousers in lapis-blue tweed, according to a caption of a clip shared by Chanel on Instagram.
Her outfit was part of the brand's Spring/Summer 2022 collection designed by Virginie Viard, who took over as Chanel's creative director when Karl Lagerfeld died in 2019, Vanity Fair reported.
Chanel's decision to include a horse in the fashion show has faced backlash from some, including the international animal-rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). Representatives for Chanel did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment, and representatives for Casiraghi declined to comment.
"Horses are intelligent, complex, and easily frightened individuals, not fashion accessories to ride down a catwalk amid flashing lights and booming music," PETA's UK Director Elisa Allen told Insider in a statement.
"They are easily spooked, meaning that this absurd and thoughtless gimmick could have ended in disaster," she added.
Allen called for Chanel to "take inspiration" from other designers such as Stella McCartney, "who was lauded internationally when her models wore fabulous animal costumes down the catwalk," and said "they should follow her lead in leaving animals' skins out of their collections, too."
McCartney, whose brand hasn't used animal-based products since it launched in 2001, made headlines at Paris Fashion Week in 2020 when people sporting animal costumes walked alongside models wearing her collection, The Guardian reported.
PETA's criticism of Chanel was shared by some on social media.
Diet Prada, an Instagram account with 3 million followers that posts about wrongdoings in the fashion world, reshared Chanel's clip of the show's opening on Tuesday, with the caption: "Who thought that horse was about to charge into the audience omg."
In the comments, some questioned why the horse was there.
One referenced backlash the brand previously faced after a viral TikTok criticized its $825 advent calendar: "Chanel is pulling all the strings to make a comeback from the advent calendar, including exploiting animals for clickbait."
"Animals are not for us to use for fun, sport or entertainment," another user wrote.
Chanel's use of a live animal in a fashion show comes after Gucci received backlash for featuring real tigers in a campaign
Gucci shared the first image from its campaign for its new collection GucciTiger, which celebrates the Chinese "Year of the Tiger," on its Instagram account on January 4, as The Independent reported.
"Nature, wildlife and its denizens are particularly important to Gucci, which in February 2020 joined The Lion's Share Fund, a unique initiative raising much-needed funds to protect endangered species and their natural habitats," the caption read. It added that American Humane, a third-party animal welfare organization, monitored animals on set and verified that none were harmed. According to the caption, the tigers were photographed and filmed in a separate environment.
The campaign was criticized by international nonprofit animal-rights organization World Animal Protection in a January 12 Facebook post, which said the campaign was "portraying tigers as pets and luxury items when they are wild animals that belong in the wild."
"Whether bred in captivity or captured from the wild, the stress these tigers undergo when forced to pose for photos is immense," it added. "By depicting tigers as mere photo props, Gucci's fashion campaign encourages consumers to treat them in the same harmful way."
Representatives for Gucci did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
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