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Fashion Week or Fashion Weak?

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Message Martha Rosenberg
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Fashion week, New York's fete to the fashion industry, has had a rough couple of years.

Last year Naomi Campbell brained her maid with a phone, "Devil" had made Prada a household word--and not a good one--and the press was more enchanted with Angelina's contractions in Namibia.

This year household budgets are in lock down thanks to the mortgage crisis and the apparel industry is expected to take major hits this season.

Last year the press platform at the Fendi show in Milan collapsed and an irate press walked out.

This year the press waited two hours for Marc Jacob's show only to find the clothes still didn't look ready.

Last year celebrities were sparse with only Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dog, Elton John, Jennifer Lopez, Kate Hudson and Kate Moss--in the form of a hologram projected on the wall--making appearances.

This year celebrities included Courtney Love. There was also Courtney Love.

Of course it's no secret that the fashion industry's doddering doyens are out of touch.
But it doesn't help that they are still pushing the exhumed provenance known as fur.

They say that "fur is cruel but Spandex is just inconsiderate." But one look at this year's designs shows that fur can be inconsiderate too.

In response to the criticism that fur make women look fat, belted fur coats are abundant--pun intended--offering the svelte allure of grandpa's bathrobe.

Artificial colors are back--"misty rose" minks, neon blue foxes, coral rabbits--reminiscent of the years in the nineties when furriers dyed the coats to make them look fake so their wearers could pass unnoticed before animal lovers on the street.

Like last year, any surface that can be adorned with fur from a collar to a lining to the cuff of Ugg-like boots is, the better to keep Chinese fur farms boiling dogs--labeled "fox," "rabbit," and "Asian wolf" on tags in US stores: beware--and other animals alive.

And while Prada--which works in PONY and SEAL: think about that!--and Burberry Prorsum aren't pushing the fur top/cloth bottom coats seen last year (one actually had a tail) cuts like JP Gaultier's "tartan coat" and a Bisang red fox poncho being pushed by Saks Fifth Avenue are just as Paul Bunyan.

Other cumbersome and fashion-embalmed looks are found in the September Vogue which features four fur spreads courtesy of fur loving editor Anna tofu-pie-in-the-face Wintour. There's even a fur rug.

Despite a rough year of "mislabeled" furs from China, the fur industry continues to argue it just answers demand for its product. (see dogfighting; heroin)

It contends people wear fur for warmth not ostentation and that fakes run a distant second in looks and "breathability." (The industry also calls fur a "fabric." Can someone give these people a biology lesson?)

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Martha Rosenberg is an award-winning investigative public health reporter who covers the food, drug and gun industries. Her first book, Born With A Junk Food Deficiency: How Flaks, Quacks and Hacks Pimp The Public Health, is distributed by Random (more...)

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