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When Virgil debuted Louis Vuitton SS19 collection four years ago, something changed in the industry and in everyone’s mind. That disruptive start took the form of a rainbow, a rainbow that has left its trail beyond the designer’s death. The Louis Vuitton Men’s creative studio has recovered this historic moment, making it clear that Abloh’s legacy has marked the maison forever. Here they are all the keys to the fashion show:
Fashion show conceived entirely by the Louis Vuitton Men’s creative team
Unlike the January collection, which was almost finished by Virgil, this is the first to be completely conceived by the in-house design team. Despite not having left any sketch, Virgil Abloh’s legacy has undoubtedly defined the future for Louis Vuitton’s men’s division.
Toys, tools for the imagination
The large-scale yellow racetrack at the Carré du Louvre is everything we would have wished for as children. The track, reminiscent of Yellow Brick Road from the Wizard of Oz – one of Virgil’s obsessions – is the road to the imagination, an evolutionary path for the mind where childhood fantasies come to life. It is a transition from the naive to the refined, reflected in a collection that elevates the symbols of childhood through the maison‘s savoir-faire. Children’s iconography has flooded the scene: huge red balloons have been placed at strategic points along the route, and ingenious creations take shape in garments. We find, for example, looks composed of real speakers or a suit adorned with origami leather paper airplanes as a nod to another of Abloh’s childhood obsessions.
‘Long Live Virgil’, Kendrick Lamar repeated 1000 times
The show begins with a cinematic prelude, directed by Ephraim Asili. Strange Math explores the relationship between imagination and reality, central themes of the collection. Suddenly, as in a moment of teleportation, the band on the audiovisual piece appears in the show; the parade, then, is about to begin. Not before enjoying a live performance by The Marching 100, the Florida A&M University band, dressed in the FAMU uniform and some custom Louis Vuitton uniforms. Once the band finished, the designs began to descend on the runway. Backed by an orchestral opening that would soon give way to Kendrick Lamar, the models walked thorugh the track. Wearing a crown of thorns and next to Naomi Campbell, the rapper filled the space of Louis Vuitton show with the word Virgil.
Arts and Crafts
The natural evolution of turning imagination into creation begins with the tools of our childhood: toys, building blocks and sandbox tools. As we grow and perfect ourselves, so do the mechanisms that bring our ideas to life. Through Louis Vuitton’s signature savoir-faire, the collection reflects this transition figuratively and literally. Building blocks and elements emulating play dough adorn garments and accessories. Also, components from the toolbox – such as scissors or tweezers – adorn the designs in three-dimensional embroidered pendants.
A component par excellence in Louis Vuitton’s genetics, which could not be missing in the collection. Flower fields – the eternal image of harmony in diversity – adorn the garments through impressionist paintings transformed into tapestries, prints and embroideries. A symbol of resistance and healing, the thistle also refers to the decoration of Louis Vuitton’s ancestral home in Asnières.
The Louis Vuitton SS23 menswear show is a masterpiece created by all the minds that shape the maison. It is a remarkable feat that the creative studio, all disciples of Virgil, has masterfully emulated the designer’s fantasies. Inevitably, Virgil’s quote echoes in our heads: “Everything I do is for the 17-year-old version of myself”. Louis Vuitton team, once headed by Virgil, has prove the ability to continue for long without a creative director, oblivious to speculation. The uncertainty over who will take over the creative direction of the maison continues. Although there have been suspicions of whether Martine Rose will be his sucessor,after this proposal may Louis Vuitton bet on a new way of working, that of a collective creative mind. At least for a while.