Fendi facing haute furore at Paris Fashion Week

Fendi facing haute furore at Paris Fashion Week
A model presents a creation for fashion house Fendi at the Men Spring-Summer 2016 Milan's Fashion Week on June 22, 2015.

PARIS - With fashionistas baking in a mascara-melting heatwave and Italy's Fendi set to raise hackles with an all-fur collection, Paris Fashion Week, which starts Sunday, may prove a tad too haute to handle.

High- fashion designers will unveil their autumn and winter collections over five days in Paris that will kick off with shows by Russian couturier Ulyana Sergeenko and Dutch designer Ilja Visser.

But the highlight of the extravaganza will be German fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld's collection celebrating his 50 years working for Fendi, which has hailed the "longest relationship between a designer and a fashion house." The show on Wednesday will be entirely "haute fourrure" or, couture fur - a material the luxury fashion brand has never shied away from.

French film icon and passionate animal activist Brigitte Bardot has already shown her disapproval by writing a letter to Choupette Lagerfeld, the designer's pampered feline companion.

Bardot appealed to the cat - who has become famous with 48,000 Twitter followers - to "purr in the ear" of her master and save her "furry friends".

But even Choupette, whose every whim is catered for, is unlikely to stop the show.

Lagerfeld has often said that while he is very sympathetic to the anti-fur cause, doing away with the industry would cause a lot of people to lose their jobs.

"For me, as long as people eat meat and wear leather, I don't get the message," he told the New York Times in a recent interview, adding however that he preferred not to think about how the animals died.

The indefatigable Lagerfeld, 81, will also be presenting his collection for Chanel, the fashion house that is perhaps the most synonymous with Paris's reputation for glamour and known for spectacular staging.

In total some 30 designers will present the Haute Couture shows seen only in the City of Light.

The designation is protected by French law and attributed exclusively by the ministry of industry to 14 houses whose high-end clothes are entirely made by hand and tailored to each client.

On Monday the glitterati will be glued to the show by Schiaparelli as French designer Bertrand Guyon makes his debut as style director for the legendary house.

Founded in 1930 by Elsa Schiaparelli, Coco Chanel's biggest rival, the house made its couture comeback in January 2014 after lying dormant for 60 years.

On Wednesday John Galliano will put on his second couture show for Margiela in Paris, after choosing to present his comeback collection in London in January - seen as a snub to the French capital where he fell from grace.

Galliano lost his job as Dior's star designer in 2011 when he was filmed in a Paris bar making slurred insults against Jews, and disappeared from the runway for several years.

This time it is Valentino who will be missing from the Paris couture diary, having chosen to show his collection on Thursday in Rome as he celebrates the opening of his largest store around the globe.

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