Versace is to join a growing list of design houses that have announced a ban on fur in future collections. In an interview for The Economist's 1843 magazine, the brand's vice president and chief designer said, “Fur? I am out of that. I don’t want to kill animals to make fashion. It doesn’t feel right.” According to WWD, the news came mere hours after fellow Italian brand Furla stated that it was also going fur-free, beginning with its cruise 2019 collection.
At the time of writing, Versace hasn't released an official brand statement confirming the news, but Humane Society International wasted no time in circulating their joy at Donatella's comments. “Versace is a massively influential luxury brand that symbolises excess and glamour, and so its decision to stop using fur shows that compassionate fashion has never been more on trend," stated Claire Bass, executive director of Humane Society International UK. "Such influential brands turning their backs on cruel fur makes the few designers like Fendi and Burberry who are still peddling fur look increasingly out of touch and isolated.”
Donatella's changing attitude towards fur – previously, the brand has used mink, fox and racoon dog fur, with a laser-cut fur coat featuring in its AW17 offering – could be attributed to the renaissance the brand has experienced over the past year. 2017 was the 20th anniversary of the death of Donatella's beloved brother Gianni, and she ensured through a series of revivals that his legacy was honoured.
A reunion of the Supers – Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford – was the highlight of the SS18 fashion month calendar, while Donatella's forward-looking vision was seen in Versace's SS18 campaign, which united two generations of models – famous faces of the '90s like Gisele Bündchen alongside millennial models Gigi and Kaia. Of course, Versace is on everyone's mind thanks to American Crime Story: The Assassination of Gianni Versace now showing in the UK, in which Penélope Cruz dons a bleached blonde wig and thick lashes to portray Donatella – although the show isn't approved by the fashion house or Versace family.
Following the lead of other influential houses like Gucci and Michael Kors, which both announced their fur-free stance in the last six months, we can only hope that by the end of 2018, the whole of the industry will have waved goodbye to cruelty in the name of fashion. When brands like Shrimps are offering directional and fabulous faux fur alternatives without the violent – and frankly, uncool – practice of harming animals, fur looks more and more like an outdated and embarrassing concept the industry should leave behind.