Why was it important for you to protest during the Fendi couture show in Paris this week?
This first “haute-fur” [a pun on haute-couture, with “fourrure” which means “fur” rhyming with couture] runway show is provocative. The fur industry is one of death and suffering and, faced with this normalisation of cruelty, we must react. We have no choice in the matter.
What would you say in response to Karl Lagerfeld when he defends the use of animals by saying they are also exploited for consumption?
I doubt very much that Karl Lagerfeld eats much mink or fox or chinchilla. It is important not to mix things up; each battle must be waged in its own right. The farming of animals for their fur is absolutely dreadful.
Have you met Lagerfeld and worn his designs, and what do you think of him?
I live the life of a farmer. I don’t see how I could wear Lagerfeld’s designs while feeding my goats. I have respect for Lagerfeld as a man, but I would have so much more for him if he, in turn, respected animals. We do not live in the same world.
Despite the work done by such organisations as Peta and your foundation, fur is still popular in the fashion world. Why do you think this is?
Pride, stupidity or just plain ignorance have allowed this trend built on the lethal exploitation of animals to flourish once again. This is a war that we had won, or at least that we believed we had won, in the 1990s, since fewer people in Europe and in the US dared to wear real fur.
Have you ever worn fur?
Yes, I have, and I do not hide that fact. But at that time, I had no understanding of [it] – I had no connection to the animal itself. It was a time when no one had knowledge of the conditions under which animals were being bred and slaughtered. Only idiots never change their minds, so when I was made aware of [this], it became patently obvious to me – indeed it became indispensable – that I put an end to my career (which was all glitz and vanity)so I might dedicate my life to this most urgent of causes.