French clothing company A.P.C. staged its Fall 2015 collection during Paris Fashion Week on Saturday and it caused quite the stir (and not because they showed penises à la Rick Owens).
During the presentation, A.P.C. founder Jean Touitou used a racial slur when he held up a sign saying, "Last N****s In Paris," a reference to the name of a song by Jay Z and former A.P.C. collaborator, Kanye West.
"I call this one look "Last N****as in Paris,'" Touitou said as he held the sign. "Why? Because it’s the sweet spot when the hood — the 'hood — meets Bertolucci’s movie 'Last Tango in Paris.'" After a pause, he continued to justify the use of Timberland boots in the show, which he said gave the outfits a "ghetto" vibe. "The Timberland here is a very strong ghetto signifier," he said. "In the ghetto, it is all the Timberlands, all the big chain. Not at the same time — never; it’s bad taste. So we designed Timberlands with Timberland."
Naturally, not everyone was happy with a racial slur being used, including Timberland, who cut ties with the French fashion label after the show.
On Wednesday, Timberland's president Stewart Whitney issued a statement:
"Yesterday we became aware of the offensive remarks made by Jean Touitou during his APC Fall Menswear show in Paris. We have chosen to immediately terminate our involvement with the APC brand, including the footwear collaboration we had planned for this fall. Simply stated, this kind of language and approach is in complete contrast with our values. Timberland seeks to collaborate with designers and brands who are at the forefront of lifestyle trends; equally important, they must also share our values. We will not tolerate offensive language or racial slurs of any kind being associated with the Timberland brand."
However, according to Style.com, Kanye West had no problem with the slur being used, and reportedly gave Touitou permission to use it during the show.
"I am friends with Kanye," said Touitou, "and he and I presented a joint collection at the same place, one year ago, and that this thing is only a homage to our friendship. As a matter of fact, when I came up with this idea, I wrote to him, with the picture of the look and the name I was giving to it, and he wrote back immediately saying something like, 'I love this vibe.'"
According to Business of Fashion, Touitou is known for courting controversy.
Hint magazine reported that he once called the entire Chinese manufacturing industry, "Mr. Chong" and "fascists" and once accused the French label Hermes of only selling "ugly colours."
A.P.C. is set to release a statement on Thursday, Jan. 29. Check back again for more updates.