Paris (AFP) – The culture war has come to the catwalk.
Divisions over race, gender and the climate crisis are bubbling to the surface in a world where political debate is usually about as welcome as bingo wings.
Two of Paris fashion’s biggest stars, Hedi Slimane of Celine and Saint Laurent’s Anthony Vaccarello, have both warned of a new “puritanism”.
Slimane even fears that this “disguised neo-conservatism” is threatening “the fundamental liberty to create”.
“Demagogic political correctness has become a kind of tragic tyranny of the literal,” he declared in a rare interview last month.
Vaccarello went further on the eve of Paris fashion week, saying “it is impossible now to have an opinion that goes against” the herd.
The Belgian also railed against the “PR of quotas, which counts the number of people of colour in a show”.
Both men have been mauled by feminists in recent seasons — Vaccarello over “porno chic” ads that the French regulators said were degrading to women, and Slimane for thrashing the artful legacy of British designer Phoebe Philo, his predecessor at Celine.
– ‘You can’t say anything’ –
Paris (AFP) – Vivienne Westwood designer Andreas Kronthaler hit out Saturday at fashion’s most powerful man Bernard Arnault for attacking Greta Thunberg.
The French billionaire and head of the LVMH conglomerate that owns labels like Louis Vuitton, Dior, Givenchy, and pop idol Rihanna’s new brand Fenty, said the teenage climate activist was “surrendering to total catastrophism… that is likely to demoralise the young.
“She doesn’t offer anything other than criticism,” he told reporters in Paris earlier this week as he launched his group’s new green drive.
The world’s second richest man said he was strongly against “her extremely negative” stance.
“What we take from it is that we have to stop growth, which has reduced poverty, raised living standards and improved health in poor regions like Africa.
“If we want to go backwards, let’s stop growth,” he declared.