Faking It for a Reason


From spraying red ink on fur coats to placing right-to-know (how your fur was killed) ballots in Beverly Hills, a young generation of radical activists has taken hold of the fashion world.

But if change truly comes from within, furriers will take greater note of the Ark Trust’s Genesis Awards Saturday when Oleg Cassini will be honored for his anti-fur campaign and the “Evolutionary Fur” he will introduce in October.

Cassini has been on an anti-fur campaign ever since he saw the fallout from designing a leopard coat for Jacqueline Kennedy. According to the 85-year-old designer, “250,000 leopards were killed worldwide [in the ‘60s]. After that I said, ‘I will do my best to redeem myself.’ ”


He’s hoping redemption will come with a new fake fur he designed with imitation-fur maker Monterey Inc.: Evolutionary Fur, which looks and feels and is warm like real fur. And, said Cassini, it’s easier to use because coat makers won’t have to work within the confines of natural pelts.

The development of Viagra, he said, may well save the world’s elephants and rhinoceroses from being poached to near-extinction for their tusks. The same, he hopes, will be said of his product. According to Cassini, “It could save 40 million animals a year.”

Gretchen Wyler, a former mink owner, started the Ark Trust in 1991 to promote positive coverage of animal issues by the major media. Within the fashion community, models and couturiers are taking action against real fur. Yves Saint Laurent, whose green coat is pictured below, is one of many designers using imitation furs.