Since Virgil Abloh's recent interview with The New Yorker, in which the creative director of Louis Vuitton menswear addressed his Michael Jackson-inspired collection, the designer has received some backlash for his remarks on the late music figure and the newly released "Leaving Neverland" documentary that highlights Jackson's allegations of sexually abusing young boys. (Abloh claimed he hadn't heard of the film and only wanted to focus on the "good side" of the controversial pop icon.) In addition, critics are now questioning how the French luxury house will handle the future of its Fall 2019 line.
On Thursday, Louis Vuitton, as well as Abloh, released a statement, which was first reported by WWD, on the matter: "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,” said Abloh. "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."
"We find the allegations in the documentary deeply troubling and disturbing," added Louis Vuitton chairman and CEO Michael Burke. "Child safety and welfare is of utmost importance to Louis Vuitton. We are fully committed to advocating this cause."
In a statement provided by Louis Vuitton, the LVMH-backed brand also stresses that the team was unaware of "Leaving Neverland" at the time of its most recent runway show during Men's Fashion Week Paris in January. (The film premiered at Sundance around the end of January and its first trailer was released in February, followed by its debut on HBO in March.)
As reported by WWD, Louis Vuitton will not produce any of its Fall 2019 pieces that feature elements of Jackson's likeness, which will most likely include a graphic T-shirt airbrushed with his famous socks-and-loafers look, as well as the collection's sparkling white gloves — another signature piece of the performer's wardrobe. Some pieces also feature prints with the characters of the 1978 film "The Wiz," which starred Jackson as the Scarecrow.
"Louis Vuitton will make sure the collection purely reflects the true values of the brand and of our Artistic Director, and also that there is absolutely no item that directly features Michael Jackson elements," noted a spokesperson for Louis Vuitton in an email with Fashionista. "The [Fall 2019] men’s collection has multiple inspirations and will be launched in stores in July."