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Gucci's creative director speaks on blackface controversy

PICTURED: Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele

GUCCI'S CREATIVE director has broken his silence following the controversy over a $890 jumper that bares similarity to blackface.

Alessandro Michele, said that racism was never his intention and lamented in a letter to employees both his own pain and “that of the people who saw in one of my creative projects an intolerable insult.”

The black sweater went viral last week, after an image of a white model wearing the Gucci garment which was designed with a black pull-up neck featuring a cutout surrounded by cartoonish red lips.

Michele wrote that it was not inspired by blackface but by late performance artist and fashion designer Leigh Bowery, who often used flamboyant face makeup and costumes, AFP reports.

Despite his inspiration, Michele said, he takes “full accountability” for the jumper.

Michele’s internal letter was reported by Women’s Wear Daily, with Marco Bizzarri, Gucci’s president and CEO, adding: The lack of knowledge of diversity and the consequent understanding are not at the level we expected, despite all the efforts we did inside the company in the last four years.”

Gucci apologised in a statement posted on Twitter, saying they're committed to diversity and considered it a “fundamental value to be fully upheld, respected and at the forefront of every decision we make.”

The apology follows public outrage and stars claiming to boycott the brand, including Spike Lee and rappers T.I and 50 Cent.

50 posted a video on Instagram, showing him burning a Gucci t-shirt with a caption that read: “I gotta get rid of all the Gucci I have at home. I’m not supporting their brand anymore.”

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