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Style Files: Jay Z Launches Barneys Holiday Collection Amid Controversy

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(AFP/Getty Images)

(AFP/Getty Images)

By Scott T. Sterling

After staring down controversy regarding alleged racial profiling at the national retail chain Barneys New York, rapper Jay Z has launched his collaborative “A New York Holiday” collection with the store, with all proceeds now earmarked for the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation, which aims “to help individuals facing socio-economic hardships further their education at institutions of higher learning.”

The high-end and limited edition line features collaborations with such luxury brands as Rick Owen, Balenciaga and Lanvin, among others.

Shoppers will need a Jay Z-sized budget to procure the high-end items, which tops out at $58,000 for a Mollino alligator leather jacket (see below). The most affordable item is a $70 graphic print T-shirt featuring gold metallic print.

(Courtesy Barneys NY)

(Courtesy Barneys NY)

For those in New York, the items will be for sale in a special pop-up BNY SCC Gallery created by French visual artist Joanie Lemercier “under the direction of Mr. Carter and Barneys New York Creative Director Dennis Freedman.” According to the New York Daily News, a large window display at the Barneys store on Madison Avenue “stopped foot traffic” when it was unveiled today (Nov. 20).

Price-point notwithstanding, the items are sleek and minimal, for the most part eschewing big logos for understated designs, resulting in truly stylish pieces such as the Lanvin slim-fit two-button jacket ($2495) with matching slim-dress trousers ($1055) and the Stutterheim Stockholm raincoat ($675).

Also found in the collection are more extravagant items including a cashmere throw ($4500), a cedar-lined cigar humidor ($1000) and a two-finger gold New York City ring ($12,500).

(Courtesy Barneys NY)

(Courtesy Barneys NY)

The 18k gold watch ($33,900) created in conjunction with Hublot is the source of its own controversy, with Jay Z getting in hot water over presenting one to New York Yankees slugger Robinson Cano for his birthday. Given that Cano is a client of the rapper’s recently minted Roc Nation Sports agency, the gift violates Major League Baseball rules in regards to player-client relations, and is currently being investigated by the MLB Players Association.

A planned celebration of the launch scheduled for tonight (Nov. 20) has been cancelled in light of the “stop and frisk” charges and Jay Z amending his agreement with the retailer, which includes the rapper having a “leadership role and seat on a council specifically convened to deal with the issue of racial profiling.”

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