New York City’s V.I.M. stores have always been known to carry clothing with a strong streak of tackiness. The chain’s president may have given an indication of why.
V.I.M. president, Joseph Joseph, and his wife Ellen, threw a Mexican-themed costume party at their Long Island mansion this weekend that left many of the Latino staff working the party offended and scratching their heads.
Guests mingled with topless women with Aztec-inspired body paint and Chippendales-like men in too-tight mariachi outfits while noshing on kosher tacos.
Most of the 250 or so guests opted for colorful ponchos and oversized sombreros, according to the New York Post, but some went for more pointed get-ups. There were gang members with bandannas and fake tattoos, Border Patrol guards, Donald Trump outfits as well as people wearing T-shirts declaring them an “immigrant mushroom picker” or “immigrant day worker.”
“[The staff people] were really irritated they had to stand there and serve these people who were wearing all this,” one anonymous guest told the Post. “One Mexican guy said it was hurtful that he had to read all this stuff.”
For their part, the hosts said they tried to warn guests to stay away from border wall and other political references.
“My brother wanted to come as the wall with America on one side,” hostess Ellen Joseph told the paper. “We told people to keep politics out of this, because we have so many different sides.”
But the Joseph’s daughter, Sarah, acknowledged that some of the outfits had crossed the line of poor taste.
“We had a private party honoring Mexico and had no intention of ever offending anyone,” she told the Post. “We cannot control everyone’s costumes.”
The first V.I.M. clothing store opened in 1974 in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, and was originally owned by the same company that made Jordache Jeans. There are now more than 30 outlets in New York City, New Jersey, Long Island and Westchester County.