OK, it’s great that knitting has provided some much needed amusement — and income — during COVID-19 lockdown, but Louis Vuitton has simply gone too far.
The luxury fashion brand is getting dragged on social media over the debut of their most recent collection, featuring a navy blue sweater that has been adorned with several vibrant knitted animal puppets — and an eye-popping price tag of about $8,100, reportedly.
The clownish jumper is among a number of other cartoonish pieces, including a $6,100 “puppet baseball” jacket and a $7,450 hoodie. The now-notorious sweater currently appears on LouisVuitton.com’s Hong Kong store for HK $63,500 (about $8,200 USD) — though it’s unfortunately out-of-stock there. It’s also available through the brand’s EU site, though only to those who “call for inquiry,” as the piece is “exclusively made-to-order” for such customers.
The 100% wool knitwear boasts a colorful crochet menagerie, including a panda bear, flamingo, scorpion, mouse, frog, monkey, as well as a few mythical creatures of unknown origins. In total, some 14 puppets dangle from the sweater — piled primarily on the front except for one wayward ape, which hangs from the back shoulder.
The dolls have been compared to children’s toys — and a far cry from couture.
Fashion critics on social media have claimed they could make the same sweater for a fraction of the cost.
“How hard can attaching your old stuffies to your sweater be?” tweeted @TikyYati in response to Vogue Paris, who recently shared the look on social media.
Suggesting isolation-induced madness, @DragonQueen8 concluded, “The pandemic did this.”
Many followers suggested that the same sweater could be made for a fraction of the price with standard craft supplies, or simply by rummaging through a child’s room.
“I think I can get all the components at Walmart and after a few stitches I can make it for 24.99! I sell it for $50.00 and I’m making a million,” wrote Carolyn Kent Leach on Facebook, where the sweater was shared more than 900 times.
“Just roll around the ground of a nursery and this is what you would come out as,” said Shiraz Ansari.
Despite the whimsical design, no one seems amused by the jumper — least of all the fit model who sports the design.
“Perhaps his toy chest threw up on him?” reckoned Beth Drucker.
“We understand why he looks so upset,” joked @xavegeta on Twitter, in reference to the model’s wry expression.
One was reminded of how Lady Gaga, a passionate animal rights advocate, donned a jacket constructed entirely of Kermit the Frog puppets during an appearance on German television in 2009. She then gushed about Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, the avant-garde designer who created the kooky coat as a statement against animal cruelty.
“The Kermit the Frog outfit is by an incredible designer by the name of Jean[-Charles] de Castelbajac,” Gaga said at the time. “I really loved this one in particular because I thought it was commentary on not wearing fur, ’cause I hate fur and I don’t wear fur.” She added, astutely, “We were all laughing in the house about how it looks like a pile of dead Kermits.”
This doesn’t appear to be a similar statement by Louis Vuitton, whose history with animal cruelty is fraught. Their CEO Michael Burke told the Telegraph last year, “I can say 100% hand on heart our animals are humanely farmed.”
Not according to PETA, however, who recently exposed one of the fashion house’s factories as a site of animal torture, accusing Burke of “consumer fraud” in an open letter in December.