Anti-fur protesters rush the stage while fashion designer Michael Kors (R) speaks during "The Atelier with Alina Cho: series" event at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on June 21, 2017, in New York. (AFP/Angela Weiss)
Anti-fur protesters stormed on stage with Michael Kors in New York on Wednesday, briefly disrupting a ticketed event at which the US fashion mogul discussed his career, dressing Melania Trump and shutting stores.
"Michael Kors has blood on his hands," chanted the more than dozen protesters who marched through a darkened auditorium at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, shortly before security ushered Kors out.
An audio recording of an animal squealing, seemingly in pain signaled the start of the four-minute protest about 13 minutes into the conversation with Kors, which was being streamed on Facebook
"Animal fur is not in fashion," "animal fur is not compassion," chanted the protesters, at least two of whom jumped on stage.
"Shame on all of you for supporting this industry," yelled one man as the stunned audience sat looking bemused and museum staff did what they could to escort protesters out as quickly as possible.
"Stay in your seats. We're going to try and resolve this," came the announcement over the loudspeaker, greeted by cheers and applause.
Once the protest was over, Kors was treated to a standing ovation after returning to the stage with former CNN journalist Alina Cho, who was conducting the interview.
"You know what, the show goes on," said Kors.
Known for his laid-back, luxurious, wearable and quintessentially American silhouette, Kors started his label in 1981 and has dressed Hollywood actresses, music superstars and first ladies.
Among them is Melania Trump, who wore a tailored Michael Kors dress to greet Panama's president and first lady on Monday.
While some prominent designers have refused to dress her in opposition to her husband's politics, Kors said the Slovenian-born former model had attended his runway shows in the past.
"I don't think it's a political thing," he said. "She's been a client for so long," he said. "She looks great," he said simply as a picture of Trump flashed up on the screen.
But while Kors sits atop a global handbag and apparel empire, the company has said it will close 100 to 125 stores, joining a growing list of retailers who are shutting brick-and-mortar outlets as e-commerce grabs more market share.
On May 31, the company released fourth quarter results showing that total revenue had slumped 11.2 percent to $1.06 billion.
Asked about retail headwinds, Kors said "nothing" could ever compete with the excitement of buying and seeing clothes in person, no matter how often a modern buyer had seen them online.
"The reality now is sometimes it's really thinking about how all of this works together, how do you shop online, on your phone, at your laptop, in the store, how does that all connect?"
A household name in the United States, Kors said he learned about "extravagance" and "indulgence" from French women in Paris while working as creative director for Celine from 1998-2004.
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