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Last Updated: Monday, 14 February, 2005, 11:05 GMT
Macdonald criticised over fur
Catwalk model, picture by PA
Furs, complete with tails adorned Julien Macdonald's models
Designer Julien Macdonald has been criticised by an animal welfare body for using fur in his collection at the opening of London Fashion Week.

Models wore a variety of furs, some fox pelts still had feet and tails on, in a collection "inspired by Miss Marple".

His work has been criticised by campaign group - People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta).

The Merthyr-born designer said his work was aimed for the Russian market and its sub-zero temperatures.

But Peta argued that there are many modern fabrics are more effective at keeping people warm.

In a statement the campaign group said: "Fur is a relic of prehistoric times, when it was the only thing to keep primitive people from freezing.

"Today's lightweight synthetics, such as Gore-Tex, are much more efficient at keeping people warm. Faux fur or no fur is more in tune with current concerns about the mistreatment of animals."

Furs were only part of Macdonald's latest collection.

The designer said he was inspired by a practical-minded Miss Marple - Agatha Christie's fictional detective - and the flamboyance of Florence.

"It's about Miss Marple going to Florence, but obviously it's a new day Miss Marple," said Macdonald.

"So you know I've taken the idea of the flat shoes and made them high.

Elizabeth Jagger, picture courtesy of Getty
Elizabeth Jagger, draped with a fox fur pelt, poses backstage

"I've taken her little sweater and I've made it very glamorous and very sparkly. She goes to Florence and in Florence, Italian women are very glamourous and dripped in fur with lots of colours.

"So this is kind of the loose inspiration behind the collection," he said.

A celebrity audience was at the autumn/winter show on Sunday, to see Naomi Campbell, Mick Jagger's daughter Elizabeth and Jerry Hall show off the collection.

Macdonald, dubbed the King of Cobwebs because of his intricate designs, was the first designer of 47 who will show off their work this week.

It is not the first time Macdonald's designs have attracted controversy.

Peta campaigners were ejected from Macdonald's 2003 London Fashion Week show after storming the catwalk to protest at his use of rabbit fur.

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