There were many sheer looks yesterday at Nina Ricci's Spring 2014 show in Paris, but two uninvited women showed even more skin on the catwalk. Two topless women from Ukraine's FEMEN protest group ran on stage before one was punched by a model and they were escorted out by security. Shouting "fashion fascism" and apparently protesting the assumption that Ukrainian women are sex slaves, the pair managed to disrupt the show momentarily.
FEMEN, founded in 2008, protests sex tourism, fashion, and even environmental causes. On Friday, a group of topless members armed with flares stormed a boat on the Seine in Paris in support of Greenpeace. And earlier this year, they reportedly protested "anorexic" models outside the Versace show in Paris. The group's website defines FEMEN as a "famous organization of topless women activists, who defend with their breast sexual and social equality in the world." While some may question the sensibility of going nude to protest sexual exploitation, FEMEN claims "the magic of the body" gets people interested and gives them "the courage of the act make you want to riot."
High-profile fashion brands aren't FEMEN's only targets. In April, a member of the group flashed Russian President Vladimir Putin when he was in Hanover, Germany, with Chancellor Angela Merkel. The demonstration was in support of the feminist punk band Pussy Riot, whose members are being detained in Russia. Putin didn't seem to mind, giving the women thumbs-ups. He also added later, "It is better to be dressed if one wants to discuss political matters." That might be true, but it won't get you as much attention.