Louis Vuitton A/W 2020 Paris Fashion Week Men’s
Mood board: The notes to Virgil Abloh’s A/W 20 Louis Vuitton men’s collection began by positing the term ‘streetwear’ – a divisive word in fashion’s ever-anxious lexicon. There is a forceful push against clothes that borrow from sportswear but cannot be used in the gym. Designers who have made their fame by creating clothes inspired by the loucheness of 1990s tracksuits and graphic logo tees are today more concerned in re-imagining the formalism of menswear. The suit – and all that it symbolises – is up for radical revival. With tailoring as symbol of convention, Abloh’s A/W 2020 collection considered old world value in an unfamiliar way.
Best in show: The focus on boyhood and the new suited mood offered a more tapered silhouette from previous collections. Leather bags and luggage were warped to follow the contours of the body. Standout was a fine brown calf leather suit and minimalist bomber. Standout too were the iterations on the Louis Vuitton monogram seen as cut-out motif on tailored suits in wool gaberdine and magnified broderie anglaise shirting.
Scene setting: The show was staged inside a giant box built inside the Tuileries Garden, covered in a cloudy sky. The invitation to the show was a wall clock that ticked backwards, suggestive of the frenetic pace of life. ‘When broken, still right twice a day,’ the notes read. Throughout Abloh’s time showing in Paris, for both his own label Off-white and as Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton menswear, the magic of a childhood lived through TV, music and film has always been there, from sets made to look like 1980s New York or the 1939 classicThe Wizard of Oz. For A/W 20 the cloudy sky ceiling was reminiscent of the opening scene of The Simpsons. The whole room had a cartoonish Magritte mood as artisanal tools – a paint brush, a spool of string, a ruler, giant pair of scissors and hammer – were blown up into surreal proportions.§