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Fashion: California's New Skin Heads

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Those victimized furry animals pictured on PETA posters during Fashion Week aren't the only creatures that have defenders. Selling the skin of the far less adorable python, which plays a prominent role in the new collections of Chanel, Calvin Klein, Fendi, and Gucci, has been prohibited in California for nearly twenty years and is punishable by up to a $5,000 fine. "We're selling python by the armful at our New York store; we would have liked to sell it in our Beverly Hills store too," says a Barneys spokesman. "We aren't even allowed to ship it to L.A.'' Not with California's proficient python police on the job: "We routinely go to commercial shops and pose as buyers," says Fred Cole, deputy chief of enforcement for the state's Department of Fish and Game. "If we find contraband, we seize it and usually file charges." Fashion insiders say that L.A. glamour girls, including Cameron Diaz, have been making pilgrimages to Chanel boutiques in other states (perhaps Diaz picked up her pair of python pumps in nearby Las Vegas?) since stores won't mail the verboten items to California. So what about chic-seekers who don't have a plane at their disposal? Well, there's always Gucci's faux-python prints.


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