The essence of Virgil is still very much present at the Louis Vuitton men’s atelier. Throughout the course of his brief but immeasurable tenure at the helm of Louis Vuitton men’s, showmanship, experimentation, and the intersections of art, music, and design have been at the forefront. And today’s spring/summer 23′ collection captures all that and more.
The show, nestled in the courtyard of the Louvre Museum, started with a musical precessional, which is to be expected as music/synesthesia are pillars of Virgil’s brand ethos. With drum majors in tow, the illustrious FAMU “Marching 100” brought that signature HBCU marching band sound to the 1st arrondissement.
This was a love letter to the playful spirit of Virgil, who often spoke of creating from the “unspoiled imagination of a child.” Inspired by a toy car track, the set anchored the 72-look collection in this space of a child’s wonder emporium. Motocross motifs, suits adorned with toolbox embellishments, an exaggerated surrealist speaker, tulle skirts, bags designed in the shape of toy cars, refrigerator letter magnets, and a sorbet color palette.
The collection places a strong emphasis on tailoring. From the lilac opening color story of structured suits and coats to the delicate floral appliqué tailoring that closed out the show. There’s a strong visual language that takes shape through embellishment and accessories, but the garments themselves are quite wearable in form. Take look 48, an unassuming, simplistic white 3-button suit. It’s quite wearable alone, but on the runway is shown with tassels made to resemble toolbox items (screws, scissors, Phillips wrench). It directly speaks to the notion of worldbuilding that Virgil constantly channeled.
Sorbet coats, floral crocheted motifs, bags in the shape of fortune cookies, suits decorated with tactile paper planes, etc. —the collection is infectiously joyous and an incredible labor of love!
Kendrick Lamar performed a live ode in honor of his friend, Virgil Abloh, as longtime friends and collaborators like Naomi took it all in. The Louis Vuitton men’s studio, led by Off-White art and image director Ib Kamara, took the final bow. Virgil inspired a generation of young multi-hyphenates to dream without bounds, and that same inhibition is still present in the Louis Vuitton men’s studio. As social media and the fashion industry at large wage the question of who will take the helm, one thing is quite clear; “Virgil Is (Still) Here.”