Mood board: All eyes are on Virgil Abloh – the demi-god of millennials everywhere. The pop polymath was announced as Kim Jones’ successor as artistic director of Louis Vuitton earlier this year in a post-Supreme high. His skill has been in responding to the youth-driven urge for garments that are street-smart, graphic and bold. His debut collection for Vuitton was shown on a long rainbow catwalk in the blazing sun. It zoomed in on the luggage heritage of the house in new ways – merging for example, classic shapes from the leather goods accessories into box pockets on cotton shirting. It marked the beginning of a new era, an inclusive atmosphere as 1000 fashion students were invited to attend. They lined the catwalk, each wearing collectable branded t-shirts. On show seats, guests were presented a map which highlighted the different continents the show’s models hailed from. The first third of the show was walked by black models, including a host of Abloh’s musician industry friends.
Best in show: The show opened with pure white looks – wool mohair double-breasted suit jackets worn with two-pleat pants and mismatched enamel cufflinks. A technical cotton monogram de-bossed suit. A white crocodile leather trench. They had a functional fashion message. The brand’s classic voyage pochette was sewn into the back of a jacket as a roomy pocket. Standout were the pieces featuring scenes from The Wizard of Oz. Dorothy in the poppies is recalibrated in glittering embroideries, intarsia knits and silk jacquard.
Sound bite: Much will be made of Abloh’s celebrity associations (he served as creative director for Kanye West for a time) but his approach to fashion – as something that is multifaceted, layered and complex – is a welcome change as brands struggle to feed a generation that gets bored so quickly. ‘I don’t call myself a designer, nor do I call myself an image-maker. I don’t reject the label of either. I am not trying to put myself on a pedestal, nor am I trying to be more, now. I would like to define the title of artistic director for a new and different era,’ his show notes read. Perhaps luxury fashion is out of touch, perhaps the long-told stories of luxury houses need a radical retelling. And just perhaps, Abloh is the man to do it.
London based writer Dal Chodha is editor-in-chief of Archivist Addendum — a publishing project that explores the gap between fashion editorial and academe. He writes for various international titles and journals on fashion, art and culture and is a contributing editor at Wallpaper*. Chodha has been working in academic institutions for more than a decade and is Stage 1 Leader of the BA Fashion Communication and Promotion course at Central Saint Martins. In 2020 he published his first book SHOW NOTES, an original hybrid of journalism, poetry and provocation.
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