Green issues lash at Paris fashion, but the show goes on

Australia-US actor Cate Blanchett arrives to attend Stella McCartney's show as part of the Womenswear Spring/Summer 2024 Paris Fashion Week in Paris on Monday. Photo: JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP

Environmental activists tried to disrupt Louis Vuitton's event at Paris Fashion Week on Monday, while Britain's Stella McCartney made green technologies central to her own show as climate issues increasingly dominate the industry.

One of France's biggest YouTube stars, Jeremstar, was briefly arrested after dressing like a "dismembered snake" to protest Louis Vuitton's use of animal skins, outside the brand's show on the Champs-Elysees. Activists also spray-painted the brand's nearby boutique, saying in a statement: "The deaths from climate precariousness are on their conscience."

Inside the venue, stars including Cate Blanchett and Zendaya seemed unconcerned and joined a standing ovation for artistic director Nicolas Ghesquiere's breezy spring-summer collection. The bohemian-chic collection was full of airy skirts, loose shirts and pastel tones.

There were elaborate, though informal, suits of mini skirts and loose jackets, with white tights and arty heeled shoes. Meanwhile, across town, Stella McCartney tried to give a more positive example, setting up a showcase for "cruelty-free and conscious material innovations".

The market stalls included several types of vegan leather, organic cotton and a seaweed-based yarn grown from regenerative kelp. Getting these new technologies off the ground has proved difficult, however.

McCartney backed a US start-up, Bolt Threads, that was considered a leader in mushroom-based leather, but it announced in July that it was halting production after failing to gather enough investment.

As for the clothes, some were inspired by her parents -- Paul and Linda McCartney -- during their time on tour with Wings in the 1970s, including ruffled shirts and crystal-encrusted waistcoats.

It was a highly varied collection, with a relaxed but high-end take on jeans and croptops, a sumptuous cape over a casual white tank top, and a silk gown gathered in two billowing balloon shapes around the shoulders. McCartney said 95 percent of the outfits were made from "responsible materials".

Blanchett was also present for that show, along with fellow Hollywood stars Robert Downey Jr and Chris Rock. "The eclectic, ageless collection blurs the lines between genders and generations -- reinterpreting pieces from Stella's archive as well as those she borrowed from her parents, and (that) her daughters now borrow from her," the press release said.

Activists also targeted the Hermes show on Sunday. The French brand had one of the prettiest stage designs, with guests nestled in a prairie of wildflowers and tall grasses. But animal rights group PETA did not like its style and briefly interrupted the show, objecting to its use of crocodile skin.

Louis Vuitton has been targeted before. An Extinction Rebellion protester gatecrashed its Paris catwalk two years ago, and members of the group spraypainted slogans including "Tax the Rich" on the Louis Vuitton Foundation art museum in May.

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