“My intention for this show was to refer to Michael Jackson as a pop culture artist.”
Renowned fashion house Louis Vuitton has said it will remove items from a new collection that “directly feature” Michael Jackson, after the pop icon was accused of child sex abuse in new documentary Leaving Neverland.
The collection debuted at a menswear show in January and featured several items that paid tribute to the star, ahead of going on sale later this year. They included a number of flag-print items inspired by ‘We Are The World’, a jacket inspired by the one Jackson wore in the video for ‘Beat It’ and a t-shirt printed with an image of the singer’s famous black loafers and white socks.
Other items included a hoodie, shirt, jumper and trousers featuring cartoon characters from Jackson’s 1978 movie The Wiz, and a shendyt inspired by the one Jackson wore in the video for ‘Remember the Time’.
The collection premiered at a fashion show in Paris where guests received invitations on a gem-encrusted glove similar to Jackson’s. It also took place in a tent inspired by the ‘Billie Jean’ video and featured his music played at several moments through the show.
In a statement released on Thursday, Louis Vuitton’s men’s artistic director Virgil Abloh said: “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.
“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.”
While Louis Vuitton say they were unaware of the allegations at the time, they told the Guardian that the claims in the documentary had caused the “greatest pain”.
Leaving Neverland debuted in the UK last week and featured the allegations of James Safechuck and Wade Robson, who both allege that they were abused by Jackson as children.
The film prompted a huge backlash from Jackson’s fans – who held a demonstration outside Channel 4’s London HQ on the day of broadcast after the broadcaster refused to pull Leaving Neverland from its schedule.
Yesterday, Jackson’s daughter Paris also said that it is “not her role” to defend her late father against the allegations. She instead praised the response of cousin Taj, who plans to defend his uncle in a forthcoming documentary.