- Marjorie van Elven |
Louis Vuitton has decided not to produce any item that “directly features Michael Jackson elements” in the wake of Leaving Neverland, the HBO documentary aired earlier this month. The film features claims by Wade Robson and James Safechuck that Jackson sexually abused them when they were children. The sexual encounters are described in disturbing detail.
Louis Vuitton’s latest menswear collection, unveiled at Paris Fashion Week in January, paid homage to Jackson with nods to several pieces he wore throughout his career, such as the iconic jewel-encrusted gloves and the three-zip leather jacket from Beat It. Artistic Director Virgil Abloh said at the time that Jackson was “the most important person in innovating menswear ever” and “an universally relatable marvel. Every person on Earth could mirror themselves in him”.
“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 human rights”, said Abloh in a statement to WWD on Thursday. “My intention for this show was to refer to Michael Jackson as a pop culture artist. It referred only to his public life that we all know and to his legacy that has influenced a whole generation of artists and designers”. In an interview with New Yorker, the designer said he was not aware of the documentary when creating the collection.
Companies look to distance themselves from Michael Jackson following HBO documentary
Louis Vuitton isn’t the only fashion brand honoring Michael Jackson in recent times. In August, Hugo Boss celebrated the singer’s birthday (he would have turned 60 last year, if still alive) by recreating the white Hugo Boss suit the popstar wore on the cover of his 1982 album Thriller. The German label also released a three-piece T-shirt capsule and sponsored a Michael Jackson exhibition at London’s National Portrait Gallery.
Since June will mark the 10th anniversary of Jackson’s death, it wouldn’t be surprising if other fashion brands were also considering to pay homage to the popstar, who topped Forbes’ list of highest earning dead celebrities in 2018 at 400 million US dollars. While die hard fans refuse to watch the documentary and even took to the streets to protest its broadcast in the UK, it looks like public opinion about Jackson is changing and companies are looking to distance themselves from him.
Since the film’s release, several radio stations around the world have banned his music, Starbucks pledged to remove his tracks from the playlists used across the coffee chain, The Simpsons’ producers pulled an episode featuring Jackson’s voice from streaming services and Manchester’s National Football Museum removed a statue of Jackson from its premises.
Picture: Louis Vuitton AW19, Catwalkpictures.com; courtesy of Hugo Boss