The theme for Louis Vuitton’s FW19 presentation at Paris Fashion Week Men’s, which originally wowed the fashion industry in all the right ways, is now causing the brand to completely backtrack and remove it altogether. It’s an act that truly has us wondering one thing: is this truly the beginning of the end for Michael Jackson’s legacy?
As unfortunate as it is to report this, both for the nature of the crime in question and the one being accused of it, the luxury fashion house and its recently-appointed menswear creative director Virgil Abloh are the latest to face backlash brought forth by the scathing Leaving Neverland documentary. Backed by a premiere at Sundance, a two-night airing on HBO and an after show special hosted by media maven Oprah, the doc depicts the disgraced King of Pop being accused of extreme acts of child sexual abuse by two of his former prepubescent associates. The reactions have been split — loyal MJ fans stand by his innocence while abuse survivors are denouncing the mere mention of his name — which has now put Virgil and LV in a tough predicament, seeing as the FW19 show was completely dedicated to him down to the “Billie Jean”-inspired set design.
Here’s what Louis Vuitton’s chief executive officer Michael Burke told WWD in an official statement regarding the doc:
“We find the allegations in the [Leaving Neverland] documentary deeply troubling and disturbing. Child safety and welfare is of utmost importance to Louis Vuitton. We are fully committed to advocating this cause.”
— Michael Burke, Chairman/chief executive officer, Louis Vuitton
Abloh followed with similar sentiments, addressing the controversy in the same statement by saying, “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.” According to WWD, the brand has made the decision to remove all MJ-focused themes from the FW19 offering. While specific items weren’t named, we can assumed that it will include the sparkly gloves (seen above), T-shirts depicting MJ’s signature tip-toed dance move and quite possibly the Jackson 5-inspired sweaters. What lingers are the range of items inspired by The Wiz. While Michael Jackson did in fact star as Scarecrow in the 1978 retelling of The Wizard of Oz, he alone doesn’t embody the entire significance of what that movie means to Black culture and cinema in general. We’ll just have to see when the collection starts hitting retailers in later months.