Men’s Fashion Week kicked off couple days ago, but the most anticipated shows of the seasons were, of course, Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior. Ironically, both recently named creative directors of the respective brands are friends. In fact, Virgil Abloh is, replacing his mentor, Kim Jones at the helm of Louis Vuitton. So for a brand that has a heritage of more than 160 years, two days ago history was made, and it happened twice at the same show! First, Virgil became the first African-American to ever release a collection for the brand, and if we’re not mistaken this has never happened in any European brands ever. And second, well you’ve all seen the images by now of the sweet Chicago reunion of the two pals that have been working together since 2002. Kanye West and Virgil were spotted sobbing in an embrace right after the finale, on the runway, and that my friend is a rare moment in fashion history!As a graphic designer and having a master in architecture, Abloh took charge of every single detail of that show: from the invitations to the sitting arrangement and the layout of the runway, he designed everything. Entitled “ We are the World” the invitation was a series of cards with the first one being a map that had different points of reference. Some indicated where the models are currently living and the rest their parents country of origin. Given the fact that Louis Vuitton is initially a luggage luxury brand, the message of travel and inclusion made perfect sense to all. In the front row, different colored Louis Vuitton t-shirts were put on seats.The show took place at the Jardin Palais Royal, but instead of taking advantage of the open space, Abloh chose to keep things simple as he wanted it to be a “humble show.” As much as we think, this was a huge mistake to not use the venue to its full potential, his installation didn’t go unnoticed. The setting arrangement did feel a bit “mass” as the show was open to a vast crowd, the creative director indeed invited 3 000 students from art & design schools. We don’t blame Virgil for doing so, on the contrary, we do applaud him for extending that kind of invitation, after all, luxury has been losing its touch for quite some time now, and that has nothing to do with him.The first series of clothes that came out were all white and placed against an extremely long rainbow runway. This immediately gave us the feeling of a “clean slate,” for the fashion house that is much like of a statement that it’s a new era. In fact, as the models walked down, we couldn’t help but notice that everything was in true Virgil’s fashion. After all, he does refer to his idea of Louis Vuitton as the “grown-up” version of Off-White. The show opened with an oversized suit with a vest on top and attached to it a small pouch, styled with a crocodile traveling bag. Throughout the entire show, these vests were seen. Some resemble life vest, others bulletproof jackets, especially because of his use of neoprene, which gave us military vibes at times. The fact that we could immediately recognize that it was a Virgil show is an excellent thing, but after 20 looks we quickly realized that although he tried making references to the past and trying to push for a more modern version of men’s fashion, the brand’s identity got lost in the way. The whites were followed by brown and neutral outfits that were our favorites out of the 56 looks. Then came the bright line up, a series of tie-dye outfits with matching bags, and red ensembles. Then came the neon… the overuse of splash prints of paint, and that’s where he lost us! Although Louis Vuitton Men’s has shied away from colors that part of the collection was just utterly confusing! And as we were watching the show, we couldn’t help but think, “ where are this LV men going”? To The Wizard of Oz apparently, as Abloh showcased a few prints for his feature collab.Neon accents were small touches seen on the sneakers with the shoelaces. There was a remake of the old polarized sunglasses, and overly long chains were attached to most of the bags. PVC was, of course, a fabric used on both clothes and accessories. A must-have for the men’s this season will be the brown leather ankle boots with the LV inscription on them, as well as all the sneakers, that’s Abloh forte! He was also able to interpret one of our favorite women’s bags from the brand and made it his own, the “petite malle” with the LV logo was a hit for us mainly because of the chain and the orange neon detail. And finally, the travel casket that has been used for the brand’s perfume bottle has made our wishlist. It was perfectly oversized and was the last accessory seen on the runway.Congratulations are for Virgil, for his first show at Louis Vuitton, since following Kim Jones must have been a tough act to follow, but he already managed to prove that he’s up for the task. We would, however, like to see him push his own boundaries and get out of his “street style” comfort zone. Nowadays the fashion world has been targeting celebrities more than before, which is something that Virgil will bring to the table. In fact, we don’t think we’ve ever seen a show with that much celebrities in attendance: Kim Kardashian came for the first time in Paris since the robbery, Rihanna, Naomi Campbell, Kylie Jenner, Travis Scott, Asap Rocky, Bella Hadid, and Chadwick Boseman all came to support, and we’re just naming a few here. And last but not least, Kid Cudi walked the runway. We can’t wait to see what’s next for the brand, hopefully, Louis Vuitton identity won’t get lost like Balenciaga’s.
By Anne-Isabelle Saint-Pierre