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At a fashion event that doubled as a stealth campaign rally Thursday, President Donald Trump, Ivanka Trump and husband Jared Kushner joined Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton LVMH chairman-CEO Bernard Arnault and Louis Vuitton chairman-CEO Michael Burke to fete the new 100,000-square-foot Louis Vuitton leather goods workshop in Alvarado, Texas. The ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrated the new artisan outpost, slated to create 1,000 new jobs over the next five years — a key point in Trump’s re-election campaign platform. Leather goods produced at the facility will be tagged “made in the U.S.A.”
At the ceremony, Trump remarked on his familiarity with the French fashion house: “Louis Vuitton, a name I know well — cost me a lot of money over the years.”
“This shows two commitments,” said Arnault. “One, the commitment of LVMH to the American market. And two, the commitment of President Trump to the American worker.” Arnault later told WWD: “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 one thousand people working here, and that’s what matters.”
But many Hollywood observers were not so easily assuaged. At a party at 1 Hotel West Hollywood on Thursday night to celebrate Hollywood stylist-turned-interior decorator Estee Stanley’s new book, In Comfort and Style: Rooms With Casual Elegance, Stanley’s close friend and co-host Ellen Pompeo weighed in, saying, “I wonder what [Trump] has to gain from that? Maybe Ivanka’s going to get a year’s worth of free bags!”
Actress Debra Messing criticized his priorities on Twitter, writing, “Just so you know, Trump is at a Louis Vuitton opening while 10s of 1000s of Kurds — who were forced to flee their homes — try to find a safe place to survive as refugees.”
Just so you know, Trump is at a Louis Vuitton opening while 10s of 1000s of Kurds-who were forced to flee their homes- try to find a safe place to survive as refugees. https://t.co/1iXuDViLjx
Political activist and Hollywood stylist Karla Welch (whose clients include Tracee Ellis Ross, Sarah Paulson, Ruth Negga and Justin Bieber) posted new articles on the meeting on her Instagram story along with her own commentary: “Money over morals. Welcome to America.” And then: “But maybe judge his racism/sexism/climate denierism and pls @lvmh don’t act like @realdonaldtrump has done anything for workers. Or kids in cages, don’t worry about judging that. I wonder what he would have said to Hitler.” Welch added on Instagram, “It’s that business men chose their money over their morality. There isn’t a grey space on this.”
Elizabeth Stewart — stylist to Julia Roberts, Viola Davis and Rebel Wilson — wrote on Instagram, “We in the biz love the people at LV but it’s soul crushing to see Bernard Arnault associate with this cruel and criminal regime which is going to go down on the wrong side of history.”
Stylist Alexandra Mandelkorn (clients include Janelle Monáe and Katy Perry) added on Instagram, “Oof this make me reallllly over LVMH. Wonder how @badgalriri feels about this,” tagging Rihanna, whose new Fenty fashion brand is under the LVMH umbrella. The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to Rihanna for comment.
And makeup artist Rachel Goodwin — who works with Emma Stone, a face of Louis Vuitton — wrote, “FUCK this is so bad” in response to a comment asking if a boycott is warranted. Goodwin tagged Louis Vuitton’s press, influencer and entertainment international director Benjamin Cercio and said, “Say this ain’t so…”
Over the weekend, Louis Vuitton creative director Nicolas Ghesquiere spoke out against his company’s decision to involve Trump: “Standing against any political action. I am a fashion designer refusing this association,” he wrote, adding the hashtags #trumpisajoke #homophobia.
A-list stylists commented on the designer’s post to show support, including Stewart, Welch, Margot Robbie’s stylist Kate Young and Lily James’ stylist Rebecca Corbin-Murray, as well as actor Indya Moore, who wore Louis Vuitton to the 2019 Emmy Awards.
Oct. 21, 8:20 a.m.: Updated with Ghesquiere comment.
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