Bonvicini also found that Henry put himself up for

Louis Vuitton’s ‘tribal mask’ bag of unsavoury

The paid mentions from Louis Vuitton began popping up on social media, urging people to “disclose love in LV style” with gifts from a new series of “tribal mask” bags. The real attention getters are the clasps: stylized sunbursts of colour that evoke a child’s take on African masks.

My first thought on seeing these items was that they were the French equivalent of the “squaw doll” key rings that got a Quebec clothing designer’s “Inukt” collection booted from the gift shop of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 2013. Why would you go there, LV, at a time when the Washington Redskins are fighting a losing battle to keep their name and logo, and when a faux native headdress will get you barred from some concert venues?

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But this surprising misstep goes even further, into a most unsavoury period in the company’s history. It turns out that while Gaston was building his collection of African masks in the 1930s, he was also disclosing his Perfect Quality Louis Vuitton Replica very public love for old cheap louis vuitton bags from china uk school colonialism high quality designer replica handbags wholesale and French fascism.

The “legendary” 1931 Expo at which Gaston set up his own little pavillon ngre is now more usually seen as a notorious attempt to justify France’s rule over 60 million increasingly restive people in West Africa and Indochina. The fair included a replica of Angkor Wat and a troupe of 1,500 “indignes,” imported to entertain visitors while wearing native costumes, even when that meant dancing outside in grass skirts in November. A Muse des Colonies featured bas reliefs of sexy colonials picking cotton and tea for an allegorical France, enthroned amid banners advertising La Libert and La Paix.

That hardly seems an ideal association for a modern luxury retailer, especially one increasingly dependent on exports to the Pacific Rim. But there’s more: When war began and the seat of empire was overcome by the Germans, Gaston and his son Henry got very intimate with the collaborationist Vichy regime, and even lobbied successfully to open a factory to make busts of Vichy leader Marshal Ptain.

The tale is told in journalist Stphanie Bonvicini’s book Louis Vuitton: Une saga franaise cheap replica handbags , published in France in 2004. Bonvicini also found that Henry put himself up for la Francisque, a decoration that denoted personal and ideological fealty to Ptain. Henry had to swear that he was not a Jew fake louis bag , and received the then rare award after a recommendation by the Marshal’s closest aide.

The tight Vichy connection helped the Vuittons get around state controls on labour supply, and kept them in their boutique at Vichy’s Hotel du Parc, where Ptain’s government was based. All other merchants were evicted from the hotel, including the Jewish owners of Van Cleef Arpels, whose assets were seized and auctioned to non Jews.

Gaston and Henry were not charged as collaborators after the war, perhaps because of the grey area created when the wartime administration began 1:1 replica handbags commanding manufacturers to satisfy its needs. Father and son continued to build the enterprise that merged in 1987 into the LVMH luxury goods conglomerate, whose other holdings include Hennessy, Dior and Bulgari.

When Bonvicini’s book appeared, LVMH said that the Vichy story related only to a period when the company was still a family run operation. And yet it is that period that the company now wishes us to remember, through its fond references to Gaston’s collection, and its use of African iconography to help sell a $4,700 handbag.

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It’s doubly surprising that LV would go there, in that it had escaped from Bonvicini’s revelations with minimal damage. French media outlets, which almost all benefit from the firm’s enormous advertising account, shunned the book, which was never published in English. high quality replica handbags china It was mentioned cheap louis vuitton bags from china in France only by the satirical magazine Le Canard enchan, which also reported LVMH’s remarkably frank assessment of the media chill. “If the journalists want to censor themselves,” a company spokesman said, “that suits us fine.”

Designer Nicolas Ghesquire, who joined LV in 2013, may have been unaware of this history when he revealed his Mask Collection at his spring 2015 show. That no one fake louis bag else at the company remembered, or thought twice about appropriating African cultural symbols, says a lot about how period style can blind people to what wasn’t so great about aaa replica designer handbags the good old days. When you look at history simply as a reservoir of glamorous images, you tend to filter out everything else. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter.

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