On Monday evening, Jezebel published an article about protests in the wake of white supremacist and KKK demonstrations in Charlottesville, Virginia. One of the tweets embedded in the article purported to feature a photograph of Gucci employees in Trump Tower holding signs reading, “Hate has no home here.” In a series of increasingly urgent emails sent to Jezebel, a Gucci spokesperson has denied that the individuals were employees of the luxury brand’s flagship store.
The emails read as follows:
Tue, Aug 15, 2017 12:48 p.m.
Subject: Gucci - Trump Protest
Dear Joanna and Kate,
I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to reach out regarding the article on Jezebel “’New York Hates You’: Charlottesville Solidarity Protesters Gather at Trump Tower and Across the Country.”
In it you include a picture from social media of protestors from inside the Gucci store in Trump Tower. I can confirm these are NOT Gucci employees. Could you make a note of this in your article as needed? Please not me know if you can do so and when the edit would go live.
Tue, Aug 15, 2017 2:50 p.m.
Apologies for the prompt follow, but wanted to make sure you had received my email and if you can provide feedback?
Wed, Aug 16, 2017 3:42 p.m.
So sorry to chase but I’m sure you can understand the sensitivity of this situation. Can you confirm you are receiving my emails?
Jezebel replied to the email, asking for clarification about what sensitivity the spokesperson was referring to. The spox said, “The article features a social media image that incorrectly states that Gucci employees are inside the Trump Tower with protest signs. I can confirm these are NOT employees and would like a clarifying statement added to avoid any confusion or spread of misleading information.”
Elizabeth Kuster, the woman who posted the photograph, reiterated what she saw in a message to Jezebel. “I saw what appeared to be Gucci workers in similar-looking dark suits holding the signs against the window.”
She also pointed out that there were several other photographs posted to Twitter that depicted the same scene.
Gucci occupies the first three floors of the building.
Luxury brands have had to grapple with whether or not to engage politically with the US’s new, overtly racist administration, or to remain nonpartisan—for instance, brands like Sophie Theallet, Zac Posen, and Marc Jacobs have expressed discomfort with dressing the First Lady, while others have capitalized on the growing trendiness of protest chic apparel.
Gucci, on the other hand, is uniquely enmeshed with the Trump family and business. Its flagship store is housed in Trump Tower where it is the largest tenant in the building—it occupies a 45,000 square foot retail space worth, according to Trump himself, more than Mitt Romney. And numerous administration officials have proudly worn the brand: Kellyanne Conway wore a perplexing red, white, and blue Gucci jacket to inauguration, which she labeled “Trump revolutionary wear,”; First Boy Barron has been spotted in the brand’s black loafer moccasins; First Lady Melania infamously wore Gucci’s $1,100 pink “Pussy Bow” blouse.
In an interview with the Washington Post, Gucci’s Creative Director Alessandro Michele said that Conway had purchased her inauguration jacket off the rack, and that, “To be against something or someone, it’s a dangerous thing. It’s easy to be against your enemy, but if you give them a big hug...”
The Post story concludes:
For a designer working in the topsy-turvy realm of fashion, Michele finds these times especially invigorating — at least creatively. The politics of the day have “been the engine of something completely the opposite,” he says. “In England, when you had Margaret Thatcher, it was one of the most creative moments.”
“We have to use our voice. I don’t want to just talk about dress,” Michele says. “The way you think is important.”
In a follow up email to the Gucci representative, Jezebel asked if the brand supports the sentiment, “Hate has no home here.” We will update the post if we receive a response.