“I had a lot more time to think,” said Virgil Abloh, back at Louis Vuitton after taking a few months off for R&R at home in America. “This is show number four. When I got hired, it was me iterating with myself which was obviously as the bearer of a younger Louis Vuitton. But this is a season where I wasn’t so interested in following my current trajectory, because that’s when it gets boring. You start making decisions based on something you did three or four seasons back. So I was like, hey, you only live once! I’m not going to use Louis Vuitton just to get comfortable.”
What Abloh decided to serve up were his thoughts on male dress codes. “Something you haven’t seen from me before: the suit,” he said. “But with menswear, it can be like an automated track, so there are different breakdowns as the show progresses.”
He said he’d been considering what work means today, “and what the metaphors are for that.” The spirit of the collection was calm, with a practical focus on exploring the possibilities of product; the setting was surreal with blue skies and white clouds and a runway populated by gargantuan models of tools used by Louis Vuitton craftsmen. “I went in and photographed their work benches, and blew them up.”
Abloh, after all, is a solutions-based designer of systems by nature; he loves tools and questioning what can be done to adapt templates. Today, he started out with six variations on slim suits, with pale shirts and ties, accompanied by Chelsea boots. Every suited model was carrying a bag, some ergonomically curved on the inside edge the miracle of Vuitton leather engineering turned to fit the flank of a body.
What constitutes a business suit, though? If it boils down to wearing matching coordinates, then that could mean fitted shirts and narrow ties cut neatly from the same classic striped cotton. Suspenders could morph into conceptual leather body braces, vests could be cut down to become cummerbunds, and cummerbunds could convert into conceptual hip-wraps.
Abloh’s real-life societal observations played into this collection. He studied “guys you see on the commute” the legions of strap-hangers, with their nylon jackets over their business suits, laden with bags and his new Vuitton backpacks, with multi-mini pouches set into them, are designed to reorganize that working-man chaos.
Still, there is more to life than work a realization that Abloh has had the opportunity to contemplate in stepping away from the frenetic speed he’s been operating at. With his gift-with-invite, he sent guests a Louis Vuitton clock set to run backwards. We can’t get back time, he seemed to be saying, but we shouldn’t waste it. When a day’s toil is done, there are twinkling stars and blue skies with fluffy white clouds up yonder. That existential philosophy materialized as evening wear, completed the show.
Source: Vogue Runway | https://www.vogue.com/
Author: SARAH MOWER
Photos: Alessandro Lucioni / Gorunway.com