Last week U.S. President Donald Trump joined LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton CEO and chair Bernard Arnault to cut the ribbon on Louis Vuitton’s new leather goods workshop in Alvarado, Texas.
The presidential visit to the new atelier has sparked a new controversy in fashion industry. And yesterday, Nicolas Ghesquière, artistic director of the brand’s women’s collections, got involved. Via Instagram, the designer issued the following statement on his account: “Standing against any political action. I am a fashion designer refusing this association #trumpisajoke #homophobial.” The message appeared beneath a cover image of the 1980s Evelyn Thomas track “High Energy.”
The post has garnered at least 5,000 likes and hundreds of comments, with support coming from Camille Miceli, accessories creative director at Louis Vuitton; Paco Rabanne’s creative director, Julien Dossena; stylists Elizabeth Stewart and Karla Welch; and transgender model Teddy Quinlivan.
Quinlivan, whom Ghesquière is credited with discovering in 2015, posted the comment “Thank you for standing on the right side of history.” Members of the the fashion industry have been critical of the Trump Administration and its efforts to repealing some U.S. laws against transgender discrimination.
The LVMH-Trump event last week was in support of Louis Vuitton’s new Texas workshop, which is linked to Trump’s America’s Workers initiative, a pledge to boost employment in the U.S. The new workshop is designed to create 1,000 jobs for Americans over the next five years.
At the ceremony, Arnault attempted to distance the event from politics: “We are very honored to have the president of the United States. I’m not here to judge any types of policies; I’m here to work with my brand, and we are going to, over five years, have 1,000 people working here, and that’s what matters.”
However, fashion watchers and fans lashed out on social media, threatening boycotts of Louis Vuitton’s products.