PARIS — A climate activist walked, joined the models on the runway during the Louis Vuitton show at the Louvre museum, the final event of Paris Fashion Week, holding a white banner with the words “Overconsumption = Extinction” in large block text.
Marie Cohuet, 26, walked the entire length of the catwalk and even posed for a few seconds in front of the cameras before being escorted away by security personnel. Outside, approximately 30 activists from three environmental organisations, including Extinction Rebellion, performed in gas masks while fans and passers-by watched the arrivals of visitors such as Venus Williams and Regina King.
“We marched to demand that fashion recognise that the world is burning,” Ms. Cohuet tweeted later that evening on Twitter.
During the Dior spring 2020 show, one of the brand’s followers appeared with a yellow sign reading “We Are All Fashion Victims.” For a few seconds, showgoers, including Dior’s CEO, were unsure whether she would appear in the finale.
And it is unlikely to be the last. “For the upcoming fashion weeks,” said Franck Deyris, Extinction Rebellion France’s public relations director, “we would like the large groups to understand that we can interrupt something that they organise a long time in advance and in which they spend a lot of money.”
Ms. Cohuet claimed that she and four other protesters used Catherine Deneuve’s presence to sneak into the event, pretending to be staff, but she was the only one who made it onto the catwalk.
“We chose LVMH as a symbol since it is one of the most influential houses,” she explained, referring to Louis Vuitton’s parent business, the world’s largest luxury goods corporation in terms of revenue. “LVMH makes frenetic claims about being the most advanced in the sector in terms of minimising their impacts, but we observe that this is not the case.”
A spokeswoman for Louis Vuitton declined to comment.
According to Ms. Cohuet, the soldiers grabbed her flag and evicted her out a door that opened into the Rue de Rivoli. Two of the activists who were with her were arrested, she added, and spent the night in police prison before being freed this morning, their charges dismissed.
Following the show, the French offices of Extinction Rebellion, Youth for Climate, and Les Amis de la Terre, or Friends of the Earth, issued a joint statement denouncing the environmental and social impacts of the fashion industry and urging the French government to impose an immediate reduction in production levels.
Ms. Cohuet, a spokesman for two climate organisations, Alternatiba’s French office and ANV-COP21, said she got involved in activism five years ago after studying at Sciences Po, one of France’s most famous universities, and working on climate change concerns in Kyrgyzstan. “I felt we were in a grave situation, and it was necessary to me to focus all of my energies on communal mobilisation,” she explained.
Ms. Cohuet thinks her runway debut to be a triumph. “Our assertions are public,” she stated. “We’re hoping this will spark something.”