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Intelligencer: March 28-April 4

The birth of a "new fur" controversy, hits keep coming at Gramercy Park, Milk & Honey's star mixologist, and more.


It Happens This Week
• Spring brings the reemergence of favored American pastimes: burgers (Shake Shack opens in Madison Square Park), baseball (Yankees take on Boston in the Bronx), and graphically violent entertainment (Sin City opens on Friday).
• Parades—from Tartan Day to Hindu New Year—abound.
• Clocks spring forward.
• And the MTA could announce the winning bid for its much-contested West Side property by Thursday.

Silent Scream of the Lambs
The birth of a “new fur” controversy.
The prevalence of Astrakhan, the velvety, somewhat curly, very expensive lambskin also known as “new fur” or Persian lamb, on the runways at the most recent Paris and Milan shows is obviously part of a more general move away from fur-shame in fashion. But this trend comes with an even higher ickiness factor than others: The reason Astrakhan is so soft is that it’s aborted Karakul-lambskin. The process of getting the fur requires killing the pregnant ewe, removing her lamb, and then killing it for its pelt. “It’s been around for years,” says PETA’s Dan Mathews. “It’s making a huge comeback.” Three years ago, Stella McCartney publicly chastised Madonna for wearing an Astrakhan coat. Madonna has never been spotted wearing the coat again, and designers had been shying away from using it. Now PETA’s targeting the users of Astrakhan (including Dolce & Gabbana, Karl Lagerfeld, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Prada). The group will display photos of live baby lambs juxtaposed with photos of baby-lamb pelts—which are only a foot long. “Astrakhan and how it’s made has remained under the radar because it’s so horrific and people don’t want to think about it,” says Mathews. “We live in an escapist society.”
—Amy Zalneraitis

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