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Fendi show back on with fur included

FENDI’s fashion show is to go ahead on the Han River next month, following the Seoul Metropolitan Government’s threats to cancel the event for including fur items.

The Italian fashion house and Flossom, the Han River Floating Island managing company, announced Monday that they will host the FENDI Fall/Winter 2011 fashion show on June 2 on Floating Island, a man-made islet featuring cultural venues on the Han River in Seoul, with Fur items included as originally planned. 
A view of Floating Island where the FENDI show will be held June 2. (Yonhap News)
A view of Floating Island where the FENDI show will be held June 2. (Yonhap News)

What may be the biggest-ever fashion show held in Asia and broadcast live online by the fashion brand was mired in controversy soon after it was announced on May 11, as animal rights groups protested Fendi’s fur items. Mindful of the anti-fur mood, Seoul Metropolitan Government informed the brand’s Asian headquarters on May 13 that the city could not host the show if it featured fur items. FENDI is famous for its leather and fur garments.

“The direction, theme, product line-up of an international fashion show was mutually understood” among the two parties, FENDI’s Seoul office said Monday.

“FENDI will expand the show to present the full range of F/W lifestyle collection which includes a diverse range of items such as bags, shoes, accessories, watches and sunglasses,” said the brand.

The emphasis of the show was not only on fur in the first place but an incorrect press release stirred up the controversy, said Lee Chae-hyun, an official at THE SPRING, FENDI show’s PR agency.

“Seoul City sent out a press release saying that there will be about 20 fur items without checking with the brand and that caused the misunderstanding. About 10 items will be included in the show as was originally planned. We do not know the exact number yet because changes are still being made for the show whose concept had to be changed on very short notice,” said Lee.

Seoul City said that they had no choice but to accept fur because the show was already planned to be internationally broadcast.

“Floating Island is a private facility so it was up to them to make the final decision. We just passed on our opinion that it would be better to leave out fur. But Floating Island has been preparing the show for a year and has already passed out invitations so it was not something we could stop,” said Choi Heung-sun, head of the city’s Marine Industry Division.

The brand also announced new plans to sponsor full scholarships for young talents by holding a design competition for Korean college students. The competition will also provide opportunities for an internship at FENDI Korea, FENDI headquarters in Rome or the FENDI Network next year.

“FENDI is looking forward to creating an unforgettable event on the Han River, one that will contribute to Seoul’s stature as an international city for design. I thank the Seoul city government and all those who support the Han River Fashion Show,” said Michael Burke, CEO of FENDI.

Animal rights groups like Coexistence of Animal Rights on Earth plan to hold protests outside the venue on the day of the show.

By Park Min-young  (claire@heraldcorp.com)
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