Louis Vuitton vows to remove all Michael Jackson references from its latest collection

Virgil Abloh‘s autumn/winter 2019 menswear collection for Louis Vuitton, his second for the brand, drew heavily on the legacy of Michael Jackson.

Invitations were sent out in the form of white rhinestone-embellished gloves, the set – a tent in the Tuileries gardens – was designed to evoke Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’ music video and models walked the runway in a variety of Jackson-inspired looks, from trilby-style hats and sequin-encrusted tops, that nodded to Jackson’s flamboyant stage costumes, to t-shirts printed with the singer’s iconic black shoes and glittery socks.

The collection has caused an increasing swell of controversy, particularly in the wake of the recent “Leaving Neverland” HBO documentary, which spotlights two men who allege they were sexually abused as children by the “Thriller” singer.

“I am aware that in light of this documentary the show has caused emotional reactions. I strictly condemn any form of child abuse, violence or infringement against any human rights,” Virgil Abloh, said in a statement released exclusively to WWD.

Michael Burke, Vuitton’s chairman and chief executive officer, has also been swift to disassociate: “We find the allegations in the documentary deeply troubling and disturbing,” he said in a statement. “Child safety and welfare is of utmost importance to Louis Vuitton. We are fully committed to advocating this cause.”

Virgil Abloh had, until now, defended his controversial theme. In an interview with The New Yorker, Abloh said he didn’t know about Leaving Neverland and that he was only interested in portraying Jackson’s “good side, his humanitarian self.” 

In a statement released on Thursday, nearly two months after the menswear show took place in Paris, Louis Vuitton stressed that the documentary has caused the fashion house “the greatest pain.”

The company also stressed that it was “unaware” of the documentary at the time of the Vuitton men’s show in January.

The brand has gone on to promise it would not produce any item “that directly features Michael Jackson elements” and gave assurances that when the collection reaches stores it would “purely reflect the true values of the brand and of our artistic director.”


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