Opening New York Fashion Week Fall Winter 2023-2024 – Controversial Kering Start of Disgusting New Year. Story by Eleonora de Gray, Editor-in-Chief of RUNWAY MAGAZINE.
At the beginning of December 2022 a “fire” took over Kering Luxury Group, led by François-Henri Pinault. Kering owns fashion brands like Gucci, Saint Lauren, Bottega Veneta, and Balenciaga.
At the beginning of this year we all watched the happy faces of directors, editors and executives of CFDA (New York Fashion Federation) and wondered why.
First day of the New York fashion week CFDA and Vogue (primary partner of CFDA) announced:
– a special video on instagram of CFDA dedicated to Dapper Dan, a counterfeit goods tailor from Harlem, who’s since 2017 received an investment from Kering and opened his atelier in Harlem. In this video a young woman chosen by CFDA for this sort of thing, manipulates the facts and presents Dapper Dan as an inventor of monogram, which is obviously more than ridiculous and simply false, as monogram was invented by Ancient Greeks, and the way we use it today in the XIX century, and it didn’t come from branding livestock in Wild West.
– Valerie Steele, Director of Fashion Institute of Technology in New York (FIT), following agreement with CFDA opened an exhibition “Fresh, fly, and fabulous: fifty years of hip hop style”. In this exhibition she presented FAKE Louis Vuitton and Chanel items.
– and Vogue published an exclusive interview of Damna Gvasalia, creative director of Balenciaga, another brand Kering owns, where he explained that he was not aware of what is going on when the shooting of a BDSM inspired children commercial took place, and when massively published on Balenciaga web-site and social media networks as “Balenciaga Holidays Special”. Demna Gvasalia said that all he does is follow the legacy of the founder Cristobal Balenciaga in all his creations. Forgetting to add that Cristobal Balenciaga created Haute Couture elegant gowns, and Demna does trash bags, dirty clothing in mud and BDSM toys.
First thing comes to mind – manipulation of opinion, and sponsored content. How dull, boring even from CEO of Kering François-Henri Pinault to see him once again to pay off for “cleaning services”. What exactly does he want to prove? That Dapper Dan is a wonderful inventor, and Demna is not a pervert, adept of satanic cults? Last year Kering had colossal financial losses, and the father of François-Henri Pinault took back the company under surveillance, because of these… Let’s say “mistakes”. So François-Henri Pinault tries to prove that these were not mistakes, that his actions are actually justified. And that is why he opened New York Fashion Week this season with these statements? Let’s check it out, shall we?
CFDA announced Dapper Dan, counterfeit goods tailor from Harlem, as an inventor of monogram
New York Fashion Week account on instagram (@NYFW), owned by CFDA (fashion federation), followed by almost 900 000 people opened New York fashion week with the video made by CFDA and dedicated to Dapper Dan.
In this video a young woman tells the story about a monogram, saying that monogram came from XVIII century Wild West, showed pictures of known luxury brands like Versace or Fendi, and addressing to public announced that these monograms and prints all over are an invention of Dapper Dan, a tailor from Harlem, who’s in 1990s printed Fendi, Gucci and Louis Vuitton logos on sportswear taken from sportswear brands, and sold them to mafia and to rap singers.
How do we know this information came from François-Henri Pinault / Kering / CFDA? The same images, the same sentences were pronounced by this young woman like the ones we see in the “reportage” of MSNBC in 2019. Only this time another level was added: From braded livestock to Luxury brands.
What’s wrong with this story? Well everything, in fact. Everything is literally FALSE INFORMATION. First of all, monograms first appeared on coins, as early as 350BC, and were most used by Ancient Greeks. Then in the Middle Ages monograms were used on the leather goods in Europe. The most known and one of the oldest is Louis Vuitton monogram, which first appeared in 1896. Louis Vuitton invented to use a monogram to print all over the bags. So it is the XIX century. Then monogram print all over the clothes idea belongs to Pierre Balmain. Pierre Balmain in 1970 opened a flagship store in Maddison avenue in New York, and for the opening he presented the first monogram collection with print on the jackets, suits, and bags.
Then Gianni Versace created his monogram with the print all over the garments in 1992, then Karl Lagerfeld created monogram logos for Fendi and Chanel, and in 1995. READ HISTORICAL CHART OF MONOGRAM INVENTIONS BY YEAR HERE. Nothing beats the history and the real facts, registered patents and publications, isn’t it?
Dapper Dan at that time was a young man, part of mafia gang looting the stores in Harlem, only 20 years later he started his illegal activities by using monogram logos of Fendi (invented by Karl Lagerfeld), Chanel (invented by Karl Lagerfeld), Louis Vuitton on the sportswear clothes, designs of which was taken from sportswear brands. So what’s his invention? New line of counterfeit goods.
Back in the 1990s Police and FBI were chasing him, finally stripped him of all illegal earnings. And Dapper Dan went underground, but continued production of counterfeit goods. He didn’t have a place in fashion history, but he has a very good Police history and massive number of lawsuits for counterfeit.
In 2017 François-Henri Pinault / Kering / Gucci decided to invest in Dapper Dan and bring him back to life, legalizing his actions. And François-Henri Pinault already back there engaged in “cleaning services” of New York Fashion Federation and all its media partners. In 2021 he even insisted on giving to Dapper Dan a lifetime achievement award…
All these efforts didn’t work though. Who’d accept and see it as an art or something legit??? Not that many people. So from 2021 to 2023 Dapper Dan made lots of efforts to reverse public opinion, pointing at him as a counterfeit goods designer, and Kering / Gucci as promoters of counterfeit goods. Dapper Dan even tried a “racist card”, saying that everyone who calls him a counterfeit goods tailor is in fact a racist, and it’s because he is African-American. Really??? Well, we would call someone who is white, or green, or yellow a counterfeit goods tailor not because of his color, but because of his actions. And that is quite obvious.
And now this “historical card”. The monogram was created in the XVIII century in the USA in the Wild West before luxury houses created it… And because of that Dapper Dan used the logos of Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Chanel to make counterfeit goods…. Absolutely normal thing. Really???? Wild West, heh? Nothing to do with Ancient Greeks, and Middle age history… Do you actually buy this?
So now at the next level, Kering tries to convince us that Dapper Dan is the inventor of monogram… Really?! Who reads history, right?.. another laughing stock… pathetic effort to do something about dramatically dropped sales and huge financial losses. But why does François-Henri Pinault think that people are stupid?
Why Valerie Steele, Director of Fashion Institute of Technology in New York (FIT), presented FAKE LOUIS VUITTON and CHANEL items at the opening of an exhibition dedicated to 50 years of Hip Hop
Who is Valerie Steele? Valerie Steele is a “doctor of fashion history”, who since 2017 has been a part of “cleaning” process, organized by François-Henri Pinault for Dapper Dan. She is a director of the Fashion Institute of Technology and the Museum in New York. In 2021 she presented Dapper Dan with a lifetime achievement award at the CFDA award ceremony. Read the full story HERE.
Valerie Steele, wanna be actress, wrote this pseudo-historical gibberish for CFDA video, manipulating facts, making up new ones. That was she who said that Louis Vuitton in the XIXth century appropriated the method of stamping a monogram on leather goods from African-American folks, who did it on livestock, cows and ships in the XVIIIth century in the Wild West.
Well obviously leather goods with stamped monograms, methods of stamping livestock, in the Middle ages in Europe never existed. I can’t even go any further with this historical nonsense Valerie Steele is making up.
Shamelessly she presented at the exhibition dedicated to 50 years of hip hop FAKE LOUIS VUITTON jackets, FAKE CHANEL jewelry, and not only from Dapper Dan, also from other “craftsmen” – illegal counterfeit goods dealers. Is anyone going to say something about it?
Today with this exhibition Valerie Steele is encouraging everybody to make fake Louis Vuitton, Fendi, Chanel garments and accessories, and if they are good, she’s going to show them at her museum. How wonderful!..
Is Valerie Steele aware of what it means intellectual property? Does she know that encouragement of creating FAKEs is not just immoral, but illegal? Apparently not.
“The aspirational attitudes of hip hop artists and fans led to love affairs with certain labels, from All-American brands like Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger, to European luxury houses like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Versace. Dapper Dan, one of the most influential designers working at the end of the twentieth century, married luxury logos with modern silhouettes in true hip hop style.” Valerie Steele
I can continue for Valerie Steele: “All Louis Vuitton, Chanel, Versace items at this exhibition – ALL OF THEM FAKES! All illegal production, but look how good and stylish they are!..“
Demna addresses Balenciaga controversy
Dapper Dan is not the only problem of François-Henri Pinault. Balenciaga BDSM children commercials created a huge financial crisis for Balenciaga and Kering. Just day before New York Fashion Week opening Vogue published an interview of Demna Gvasalia, creative director of Balenciaga, addressing controversy.
At the end of November 2022 Balenciaga posted a holiday gift publicity campaign – series of the photos published on Balenciaga web-site and social media networks featuring kids with sadomasochist accessories and bandaged toys. And as if giving a finger, the cover photo of this campaign with a Balenciaga bag had a court document about “child porn” partially hidden in the image.
We disclosed the ORIGINS of this campaign, bringing forward the posts on instagram, related to BDSM, satanism cult and children abuse Demna Gvasalia and his “creative” team belong to. READ FULL STORY Balenciaga scandal: BDSM Kids commercial HERE.
Talking of which, Demna Gvasalia is Georgian of Russian origin. His team are also from Russia. When we read about the sexual abuses and tortures Russians today do to Ukrainian children, we find lots of similarities, as if they have the same origins.
And here again François-Henri Pinault came with the “cleaning” attempt, with hope to change public opinion about what happened in December 2022, and why this campaign promoting child abuse was published as a gift campaign for holidays season of Balenciaga. This is let’s say quiet ridiculous attempt to stop Boycott Balenciaga market movement.
Do you think it is a coincidence that both these stories came at the same time from the same source – François-Henri Pinault, CEO of Kering? Don’t you see the manipulation? Don’t you think that Dapper Dan and Demna are clearly his Muppets, or products if you like? Perhaps it is the time to sell them out already.
So I’m just going to pick up “salad” from dozen interview pages of Demna, and show to you how it really looks:
“At first, we were told the documents were confirmed to be fake. The Gift Shop campaign was different because the inappropriate nature of associating kids with those objects was clearly our mistake. When the scandal was sparked [by the documents and props], I was like, everybody, my team, was shocked….
I have seen a lot of drama in my life, but this was particularly hard to live [through], a mistake to learn from. It was mostly painful for me because I could not explain all of this, but also, the name of Balenciaga and the legacy of Cristóbal Balenciaga is one I cherish and have the utmost respect and fascination for. Balenciaga is a house that is over one century old and is based on strong and beautiful creative values, and I have been busy doing all in my creative power to bring it to its modern relevance, and suddenly we were under attack and labeled as something we’re not at all…
It’s an evolution. When I work on couture, there is a very direct link to the heritage and to Cristóbal’s work, which has not been translated enough to the ready-to-wear yet.
Cristóbal Balenciaga’s legacy, defending it and evolving it is the number-one reason why I am here...
I’ve never really explained to anybody outside of Balenciaga, outside my close friends, why I wanted to change my name professionally, to just go by Demna. For me, to lead a house, especially a heritage house like Balenciaga, the main thing that is required is to have a creative vision.
Intentional from who? From us? What I can definitely say is that it was not intentional by me or Balenciaga. If it was intentional by someone else, I don’t know.
I reconnected with where I started, and I realized the importance of it to me. It’s a serious job, you know, to make clothes. It’s not about creating image or buzz or any of those things. I am back to making jackets….
I cannot explain this in any other way than I sheltered myself doing what I love: making clothes. This is exactly what I will be focusing on at Balenciaga from now on….
The several pages of the interview are stuffed with repeated sentences, useless emotional words… what we call “stuffing”.
I miss that, and how much it makes me feel happy….
And he is so happy, and happy, and happy… What about us? Who will make us happy? Instagram is flooded with wishes asking Demna to disappear in his dark hole.
Did this “green” interview change your opinion? Not mine. What I see is the empty words, emotional stuffing, and false statements.
And once again, Disgusting New Year from Kering, everybody!