Jasmine Lana

21 Jun
Fashion

This Was Virgil Abloh’s First Men’s Collection for Louis Vuitton

After Kim Jones’ departure as menswear designer of Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh took over the job. His appointment as creative director of the iconic French fashion house was a big move for the fashion industry. Abloh is Louis Vuitton’s first African-American artistic director, and one of the few black designers at the top of a French heritage house. On Thursday the 21st, at 14h30 Paris time, Virgil Abloh presented his long-awaited debut collection for Louis Vuitton Men Spring/Summer 2019 at the Palais Royal in Paris. We’ve teamed up with Louis Vuitton to provide you with the official livestream.

Watch the show

In the lead up to this unarguably history-making show, fashion lovers alike looked to Virgil Abloh in the same way in which they looked to the future; with extreme hope and anticipation. Known for redefining streetwear and soaking the fashion scene with diversity, it’s fair to say the pressure was on for Abloh to perform his best when he debuted his first collection as Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton. Many of our favorite cool kids were part of this army of men casted by the French fashion house. Think Asap Nast, Bakar Shariff, Blondey Mccoy, Dev Hynes, Kid Cudi, Lash, Lucien Clarke, Lucien Smith, Octavian Essie, Playboi Carti, Steve Lacy & Theophilus London.

A rainbow road catwalk inspired by the wizard of Oz

Models marched down a rainbow runway that stretched long from the start of the Palais Royal’s garden into what seemed like infinity, an image that truly made everyone’s inner child run wild with imagination. Initially, my inner child linked this to both the Wonderful Wizard of Oz and the Rainbow Road level on MarioKart. According to an interview done with Abloh after the show, my inner child was half right. The multicoloured carpets were a fantastic homage to the Wizard of Oz, Abloh informed the press that this was an overarching theme of the collection and that Dorothy was “a farm girl from the Midwest transported to Oz, a fairy tale land where she experiences things beyond the reach of her imagination”* – a quote that really speaks for itself and holds a light to Abloh’s emotional and challenging journey through the industry. So a social comment was made as well as an aesthetic one, as the array of colors stood wonderfully next to the collection of white garments welcomed in the opening of the show.

Upon first look, a judgment could be made that the collection will be all white. Look after look after look, for the first 17 looks, models were armored completely in white from head to toe.  At first, I thought, this seemed mildly predictable, and extremely safe. A move that can only be expected from a man under unprecedented amounts of pressure to produce a magical show. However, much like the print upon our favorite rainbow road catwalk, the white smoothly progressed into an array of both wearable and eye-catching colors. Highlighting the detail that is the smooth transition between looks in a show – something that usually goes unnoticed, but is ever important.

Virgil Abloh Presents His First Collection for Louis Vuitton

Virgil Abloh’s touch of gold

As the looks march on it is fair to say that Abloh is unafraid to rip up the rulebook and leave his mark on Louis Vuitton. Although staying true to some of the classic tailoring and silhouettes we’ve learned to expect from Louis Vuitton, an eclectic mix of futuristic materials and clean shapes were added. A simple cream suit was matured with a white harness across the upper chest and a pair of neon yellow laces upon trainers; A classic LV ‘Speedy’ bag was styled with a matte-white loose chain; and a punchy poncho ended the show, deflecting the hot Parisian sun from every angle of its metallic shiny surface. These were just some of the wonderful twists and turns displayed on clean and classic designs. It all shows that as well as respecting the deep history of the House of LV, Abloh wasn’t afraid to get personal with the details.

On a personal note, a massive appeal of this collection is its ability to seem both comfortable and practical. The majority of the clothes seemed wonderfully loose, and the bags conveniently roomy. The utilitarian-style vests even have enough pockets across them to make anyone feel like a human pencil case when wearing one. Virgil Abloh continues to display a certain style that on the surface may seem easy to replicate, as proven by many independent streetwear brands that have risen in the wake of his popularity. However very few will be able to do it with the soul passion and intention that Abloh does. His garments are constructed with intelligence and heart, something that is nearly impossible to reproduce.

In a nutshell, this show displayed an eclectic range of utilitarianism, masculinity, structure and boldness. With hidden pockets of fantasy shown through iridescent finishes and unexpected florals, it’s fair to say Virgil Abloh got this show right on the nose. He stayed true to his style and let the show naturally radiate his intelligence, dedication and great craftsmanship, which has left fashion-lovers alike brimming with hope and excitement for the future of Virgil Abloh and Louis Vuitton.

Photo credits: Louis Vuitton

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