Louis Vuitton Menswear show SS21

VIRGIL Abloh is conscious of his role as a black man working in a French luxury fashion house. He wants his latest collections to serve as a kind of “trojan horse”, delivering his message of inclusivity, unity and humanity to the collection’s recipients, amongst the imagery of his SS21 work.

Abloh has been artistic director of Louis Vuitton men’s wear since 2018, and has consistently offered collections directed towards millennials, and inspired by contemporary music culture: the same contemporary drive that powers Abloh’s own brand OffWhite. This season, Abloh’s innovation is coloured by the growing voice of the BLM movement. Abloh has been criticised for his attitude to looting carried out under the movement’s name, but his recent announcement of a fund for black creatives, and the political undertone of his vision for this collection mark this season as one both visually and politically motivated.

The show took place Shanghai, China, on a platform jutting out into the water, and models entered the catwalk from LV branded shipping containers. Models in mono-toned utilitarian work wear structured the space with vast, handheld props: clouds, birds, a rainbow, a globe, and the collection’s motifs. Later, stylised Chinese dragons whirled past the audience. The result was a kind of cyber-space, pop-toned dreamscape, marked by its Shanghai setting.

The collection was unveiled to a backdrop of a performance by Ms Lauryn Hill, presented on a huge screen above the catwalk. Hill’s songs are emblematic of a history of black excellence, and a drive to raise these voices. Her noughties repertoire coloured each menswear piece with these values.

Louis Vuitton menswear SS21

Much of the show offered clean silhouettes offset with contemporary quirks typical of Abloh’s design – childish creatures clung to suits, jacket’s lapels were artfully distorted, and asymmetric eyewear topped evening wear.

Fuchsia pink, cobalt blue, and trippy, distorted checkers, lifted from some kind of video game finish line, were transplanted onto a mix of sharp tailoring and retro sportswear.

Louis Vuitton menswear SS21

In short, Abloh succeeded in offering a fresh, exciting new collection with a political undertone fit for the millennial man.

By Connie de Pelet


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