Stella McCartney put live horses on the runway at French fashion show – find out why

Author: Maria Chiorando

Read Time:   |  10th March 2023

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Stella McCartney said she 'just wanted to show that you could show animals in a different way', adding that 'my clothes haven’t killed anything'


Stella McCartney has discussed why she used live horses in her recent Winter fashion show in France.

The event, at L’École Militaire – France’s oldest riding school – opened with seven horses galloping around the school’s equestrian centre.

Explaining why she had used live horses on the runway (marking a first for the designer), Stella McCartney said there was a poignant reason.

Noting that the catwalk often shows the skins, fur and feathers of dead animals rather than making use of new materials such as vegan leather, she said she ‘just wanted to show that you could show animals in a different way’.

She added: “The difference is that these animals are alive and my clothes haven’t killed anything.”

She also said that the horses in the show had been trained in a ‘cruelty-free way’ by horse whisperer Jean-François Pignon.

In an Instagram post about the show, Stella wrote that she was ‘in awe of Jean-Francois and the love, respect and trust he shows, are possible between humans and horses’.


Stella McCartney fashion

The use of the animals in the show prompted some backlash from vegans, who were disappointed to see animals on the catwalk.

Writing on Instagram, one said: “I am very disappointed with this. Using horses to put on a show is not vegan at all.”

Another added: “Animals are not clothes, fashion or entertainment. Please, stop exploiting animals!”

Stella said the show was supposed to prompt viewers to make the connection between live animals and the dead animals used in clothing.

Acording to Vogue, she said: “This show is very much about the relationship between all creatures on planet Earth. Whether you’re a horse or not, this is a cruelty-free fashion show.

“There’s no leather, no fur, no cruelty. It’s amazing the amount [of leather and fur] that’s been on the runway this season. And when you talk to people, they don’t even register it.

“So I’m trying to remind people that the things they’re watching on the runway and buying were once living beings, like these horses. There is a connection to be made.”

Is horse riding vegan? Explore both sides of the debate to make up your own mind

Featured image: Marc Piasecki via Getty Images

Written by

Maria Chiorando

Maria is an editor and journalist. Her work has been published by the Huffington Post, the Guardian, TechnoBuffalo, Plant Based News, and Kent on Sunday among other national and regional titles.

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