French Designer Repeatedly Uses N-Word During Menswear Show

French Designer Repeatedly Uses N-Word During Menswear Show

APC's Jean Touitou says language is an 'homage' to his friendship with Kanye West.

Published January 27, 2015

UPDATE: Days after French designer Jean Touitou of A.P.C. repeatedly used the N-word in his menswear presentation and referred to Timberland boots as "a strong ghetto signifier," the iconic brand has severed ties with Touitou and A.P.C. The two companies had collaborated on a capsure collection, which will no longer see the light of retail.

"Yesterday we became aware of the offensive remarks made by Jean Touitou during his A.P.C. Fall Menswear show in Paris. We have chosen to immediately terminate our involvement with the A.P.C. brand, including the footwear collaboration we had planned for this fall," said Timberland CEO Stewart Whitney in a statement. 

"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."

Touitou has since apologized for his comments, stressing that they are "not a reflection of my values."

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Another day, another controversy with the N-word. Plenty of celebs have come under fire for using the term lately, and the latest is French fashion designer Jean Touitou, the creative brain behind A.P.C.

The designer presented the brand's spring 2015 collection with a live narration that involved using the N-word repeatedly.

The collection — titled "Last N****s in Paris" (a nod to Jay Z and Kanye West's 2011 hit single "N****s in Paris" and the 1972 film Last Tango in Paris) — featured the brand's collab withTimberland, with the models seen posing in camel overcoats and A.P.C.-designed Timberlands. According to Style.com, here's what happened as Touitou introduced his new line:

Then he held up a sign that said, "Last Ni##@$ IN PARIS," and gave us this exposition: "I call this one look Last N****s in Paris. Why? Because it's the sweet spot when the hood — the 'hood' — meets Bertolucci's movie Last Tango in Paris. So that's 'N****s in Paris' and Last N****s in Paris. [Nervous laughter from audience.] Oh, I am glad some people laughed with me."

He continued. "Yes, I mean, it's nice to play with the strong signifiers. The Timberland here is a very strong ghetto signifier. 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…" 

In a follow-up statement to Style.com, Touitou explained that he got the approval to go forth with the idea from Yeezy, his former A.P.C. collaborator (remember those $150 T-shirts?).

"I am friends with Kanye, 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," he said. "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.'"

We don't think Yeezy's stamp of approval is going to get him out of this one.

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(Photo: Foc Kan/WireImage)

Written by Evelyn Diaz

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