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Dior AW03 protestor

Revisiting fashion’s most memorable catwalk crashers

From PETA protestors to topless women, and an actual live cat

It seems like nobody on planet earth missed the Chanel prankster at the house’s SS20 show. We saw it. You saw it. Your gran saw it. The stunt from YouTuber Marie S’Infiltre simultaneously set timelines alight and turned Gigi Hadid into a bouncer, minus the earpiece, checklist, and superiority complex.

The morality of it all is up for debate but good or bad, it got us talking and provided a little bit of drama (as if we needed any more of that this season). The prankster said it wasn’t her first fashion gate crash but neither was it ours. Here’s a recap of some of the most memorable catwalk gatecrashers in fashion.


Ah PETA, we thought we’d find you here. To set the scene: it’s 2002, a simpler time for the now-struggling dinosaur Victoria’s Secret. News had recently broke of glamazon Gisele Bundchen’s £320,000 and two black mink coats campaign deal with the American fur company Blackglama, so PETA protesters stormed the stage at the VS fashion show with signs reading ‘GISELE: FUR SCUM’. Naturally, they were literally dragged off stage by a swarm of presidential level security (Gigi was only seven at the time). Although seemingly unphased by the whole fiasco, Bundchen – who pulled off her famed runway strut looking totally nonplussed –now cites this gate-crashing as what led her to stop doing fur campaigns.


The early 2000s were a busy time for PETA. At the AW03 Christian Dior ready-to-wear show, protesters brandishing ‘FUR SHAME’ signs were quickly yanked off the runway – with model Nadine Strittmatter even offering a hand. Alas, the efforts seemed unsuccessful when the next model strutted for her life behind in a lilac – you guessed it – fur coat. But these days, the ex-Dior creative director John Galliano has sworn off fur at Margiela and even converted to vegetarianism, albeit 15 years later. 


A catwalk protest not about fur or a poor attempt at comedy, Nina Ricci’s SS14 show saw controversial Ukrainian feminism activist group FEMEN invade the catwalk topless without signs but with words painted on their chests, reading ‘MODEL DON’T GO BROTHEL’ and ‘DICTATERROR’. The protest was apparently against the over-sexualisation of fashion but just a note – maybe a highly inoffensive Nina Ricci show isn’t really the right target? FEMEN had previously topless protested the live taping of Heidi Klum’s Germany’s Next Top Model final earlier on in the year, too.


Out of its nine lives, this cat was living its best one at Dior’s cruise show earlier this year in Marrakesh, Morocco. The fire and music were no obstacle for this feline that found itself at centre stage. Its iconic adventure saw it walk alongside the models and throughout them before ending up at the front row and pissing on a guest’s dress – did no one tell him it had to be returned after?