Did Schiaparelli’s Animal Dresses Go Too Far?

Schiaparelli faux-animal embellesments strike controversy


by Arian Gil, Staff Writer

Schiaparelli’s Spring 2023 animal dresses struck a raw nerve in the world of haute couture fashion. The dresses feature life-like animal heads, such as lions and panthers, attached to dresses. Celebrities Kylie Jenner, Irina Shayk, Naomi and Shalom Harlow received backlash for supporting dresses for they promote “animal abuse.” In look 10, Shalom Harlow wore a hand painted wool and silk bustier dress with a snow leopard’s oversized head leaping out of her chest. In look 15, Irina Shayk wore the identical dress of the Jenner lion-head dress and in look 30, Naomi Campbell took the runway in a faux fur covered coat with a big wolf head planted on the left shoulder.

“No animals were harmed in making this look,” Schiaparelli wrote under images of the animal head designs on the brand’s Instagram. He addressed the ongoing backlash that his brand glorified animal hunting.

“I loved wearing this faux art creation constructed by hand using man made materials.”

— Kylie Jenner

The animal heads that adorn the dresses are made from hand-sculpted foam, resin, wool, and silk faux fur. The realistic results were intentional. To many, the dresses glamorize poaching and validate harming endangered animal species.

Brand advocates state that the Schiaparelli brand has a history of surrealism and intentionally ironic pieces. Furthermore, couture is an outlet for designers to take risks, and Schiaparelli cannot be faulted for their experimentation.