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Ye Lashes Out at LVMH and Vogue Editor After ‘White Lives Matter’ T-Shirt Draws Criticism

Kanye West attended several fashion shows, including Balenciaga Spring/Summer 2023, before staging his  own on Monday, Oct 3, 2022, in Paris, where he launched the controversial "White Lives Matter" T-shirt.
Kanye West attended several fashion shows, including Balenciaga Spring/Summer 2023, before staging his own on Monday, Oct 3, 2022, in Paris, where he launched the controversial "White Lives Matter" T-shirt. (Jacopo M. Raule)

The rapper formerly known as Kanye West dominated the Paris Fashion Week conversation for a second day, unleashing a torrent of Instagram posts attacking industry figures, some of whom had criticised the Monday night presentation of his YZYSZN9 collection, which started over an hour late and featured a T-shirt emblazoned with “White Lives Matter,” a slogan widely associated with hate groups.

While many insiders condemned the T-shirt, West singled out stylist and Vogue contributing editor Gabriella Karefa-Johnson — who accused him of “indefensible behaviour” and an “incredibly irresponsible and dangerous act” — for retribution, ridiculing her appearance in posts that have since been deleted. Later in the day, West posted on Instagram that he had met with Karefa-Johnson for two hours on Tuesday night, prior to a dinner at the restaurant Ferdi in Paris. He also said that Condé Nast global chief content officer Anna Wintour recruited director Baz Luhrmann to film the meeting.

Vogue quickly published a statement on its own Instagram account, stating that it “stands” with Karefa-Johnson, adding that she was “targeted and bullied,” and confirming that the private meeting took place. A representative for American Vogue and Wintour, its editor in chief, had no further comment.

West also lashed out at Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of LVMH, owner of Louis Vuitton, where the late Virgil Abloh, once a good friend of West’s, was creative director for menswear:

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“CAN’T WE TALK ABOUT MORE IMPORTANT THINGS LIKE HOW LATE THE SHOW WAS OR HOW BERNARD ARNAULT KILLED MY BEST FRIEND EVERYONE’S GOT A RIGHT TO AN OPINION RIGHT THERE’S MINE.”

In an Instagram Story that was a screenshot of a deleted grid post, West also singled out LVMH Fashion Group CEO Sidney Toledano.

“LVMH IS TRYING TO KILL MY FRIENDS ONE BY ONE,” he wrote. “MATT [Matthew L. Williams, current Givenchy creative director] I DIDN’T LIKE THE WAY SIDNEY TOLEDANO SPOKE TO YOU BEFORE YOUR SHOW THE OTHER DAY AND THEY FORCED YOU TO MAKE CLOTHES THAT WEREN’T YOU AND KIM JONES IS…[cuts off].”

(A representative for LVMH did not immediately respond to a request for comment.)

Back on the grid, on a black square in all caps, he wrote, “WHEN I SAID WAR I MEANT WAR.”

Supreme creative director Tremaine Emory took to his own account to defend Karefa-Johnson, also alleging that West had spoken disparagingly of Abloh in private:

“I gotta draw the line at you using Virgil’s death in your ‘ye’ is the victim campaign in front your sycophant peanut algorithm gallery Your best friend Virgil, NEGRO PLEASE , this time last year you said Virgil’s designs are a disgrace to the black community infont of all your employees at yeezy.…Your not a victim your just an insecure narcissist that’s dying for validation from the fashion world…. [sic]”

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Several fashion insiders, including A-COLD-WALL* designer Samuel Ross and American Harper’s Bazaar editor-in-chief Samira Nasr, commented on Emory’s post in a show of solidarity. (Emory did not respond to an immediate request for further comment.)

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West eventually responded Emory as well, writing, “IN WAR THEY WILL SEND YOUR OWN PEOPLE AT YOU...GOOD ONE BERNARD,” on his Instagram grid.

Over the years, West has made several attempts at earning the respect and validation of the fashion industry, first in 2011 with a poorly received ready-to-wear collection, then years later with the rise of Yeezy apparel. His increasingly violent and erratic online outbursts — which have prompted many to question the state of his mental health — has coincided with a failed mass market-venture with Gap and what he said is a planned exit from his lucrative contract for Yeezy sneakers with Adidas.

Whether he will be given yet another chance is, perhaps for the first time, uncertain.

Editor’s Note: This post was updated at 7pm ET on Tuesday, October 4, in order to reflect more recent events.


Disclosure: LVMH is part of a group of investors who, together, hold a minority interest in The Business of Fashion. All investors have signed shareholders’ documentation guaranteeing BoF’s complete editorial independence.

Further Reading

Kanye Co-opts Paris Fashion Week

Perennial media magnet Kanye West may know how to attract attention by staging a surprise show, but Thom Browne and Sacai’s Chitose Abe reminded us of the true quirk, strangeness and charm of fashion.

The Ye and Adidas Conflict, Explained

The sportswear giant caught lightning in a bottle with its Yeezy partnership, but the artist’s accusations against the company have turned the deal sour.

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