Wait, Is Fenty Supporting Brunei-Owned Businesses?

It’s a big week for Fenty, the new LMVH-owned luxury fashion house founded by Rihanna. After its official reveal via T magazine, a range of fashion’s favorite models apparently headed to appear in the brand’s debut showcase—all of whom are dutifully documenting the process for their millions-strong fanbases—and it seems as though Fenty may have missed the mark this time.


From the multiple Instagram uploads of those in attendance—which include models Paloma Elsesser and Adesuwa Aighew, both of whom have built their fan bases on speaking on behalf of marginalized groups—it’s clear Fenty attendees are either staying or spending time at the exclusive Hôtel Plaza Athénée in Paris, which falls under the Dorchester Collection. The hospitality group, which also owns the likes of the Beverly Hills Hotel and the Dorchester in London, is owned by the Brunei Investment Agency, an arm of the nation’s government. Your memory may serve that many A-List celebrities boycotted the Dorchester Collection in protest of Brunei’s inhumane policy to stone those engaging in either adultery or homosexual intercourse to death.


Wait, Why Are Fenty Models Supporting Brunei-Owned Businesses?


“Every single time we stay at or take meetings at or dine at any of these nine hotels we are putting money directly into the pockets of men who choose to stone and whip to death their own citizens for being gay or accused of adultery,”George Clooney wrote in a column for Deadline in March. Ellen Degeneres also called for her followers to “rise up” in response to the law.


The Sultan of Brunei initially defended the country’s extreme interpretation of Islamic laws, or Sharia), claiming the world would eventually understand the “merit” of the new laws. However, the international backlash to the decision means they have placed a moratorium on the policy—though it’s yet to be revoked.


Most of images taken in the hotel have since been deleted, but Aighew’s Instagram account still featured Elsesser walking through the hotel’s corridors (the image below features the hotel’s logo on the bathrobe). COOLS has reached out to LMVH for comment, but has yet to hear back. As for Fenty, a fashion house headed by a woman whose trajectory has always privileged inclusivity, the move seems off-brand—particularly as we usher in Pride next week.


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