In January, fashion designer Virgil Abloh dedicated his fall 2019 menswear show at Louis Vuitton to Michael Jackson. At the time, he told Vogue that his goal was to “make a point about the humanity in [Jackson’s] vision.” This “humanity,” he said, was the “forefront” of his collection. Whereas Jackson — the man, myth, and image — was the “backdrop.”
Still, the collection included direct references to Jackson, including a T-shirt with a graphic of his dancing feet. There were also familiar styling elements, like loafers worn with thick white socks, statement gloves, embellished sashes, and loose white button-up shirts.
Now, Jackson is the subject of Leaving Neverland, an HBO documentary detailing the singer’s years of alleged child abuse.
In an profile of Abloh in the New Yorker, published Monday, the designer said he was unaware of Finding Neverland at the time, and emphasized once again that wanted to focus on “the Michael that [he] thought was universally accepted, the good side, his humanitarian self.”
This tidbit in the New Yorker profile, however, prompted both Abloh and Louis Vuitton to release a formal statement on Thursday addressing the documentary more thoroughly.
“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,” Abloh told WWD.
“We find the allegations in the documentary deeply troubling and disturbing,” added Michael Burke, Vuitton’s chairman and chief executive officer. “Child safety and welfare is of utmost importance to Louis Vuitton. We are fully committed to advocating this cause.”
As a result, Vuitton says it will not produce any item “that directly features Michael Jackson elements.” That being said, he is still the backdrop for the collection.