PARIS – Suit or sweatpants? It’s a choice many men face as they return to the office after a year of confinement. Fashion has largely responded by finding a happy medium between baggy suits and raised athletic wear – but Virgil Abloh thinks you can go both ways.
Her springtime Louis Vuitton menswear collection, due to be unveiled online today at 2:30 p.m. CET, switches between a new feminized take on formal wear and rave gear.
âI still work in opposite poles and I still dialogue with the formality of Louis Vuitton and the modernity of today’s youth culture – almost like a generation rediscovering luxury, and I am the lead,â said the creator at WWD during a break. of the shooting of his collection film in a film studio in the north of Paris.
âSo those polar opposites are the costume and the tracksuit. I was thinking about that: day work and night work, the raver and the businessman, âhe continued. âI don’t choose between one or the other. My signature is both.
That being Abloh, the collection is a multi-layered affair incorporating a host of guest stars and collaborations, warranting 53 pages of broadcast notes including a multiple-choice test, for anyone considering a PhD. in Ablohology. Rumors of a surprise announcement on the day of the show added a thrill of excitement to the set.
Entitled “Amen Break” – after a famous drum sample that influenced hip-hop and became the foundation of electronic music genres like drum ‘n’ bass – the film features musicians GZA, Goldie, Saul Williams , Lupe Fiasco and Shabaka Hutchings, in a continuation of Abloh’s continued celebration of black creative talent.
In addition to appearing on the soundtrack – the opening song is a new track by Goldie called “Dassai Menace” – they play characters in a storyline that mixes references to martial arts and chess. âIt’s based on ‘Lone Wolf and Cub,’ which is a classic Japanese kung fu movie about a father protecting his son,â Abloh said.
Part of the ensemble juxtaposes a birch forest with a replica of the dojo founded by Fiasco’s father on the South Side of Chicago. The chess theme nods to the cover of GZA’s flagship album “Liquid Swords”, as well as Vuitton’s signature Damier motif.
An avid chess player in real life, the Wu-Tang Clan rapper has coached his co-star, artist and writer Kandis Williams. âYesterday in rehearsal he was teaching her how to play and everyone was gone, and they were still playing, just the two of them,â Abloh recalls.
The designer, in turn, orchestrated a game of human chess, with kids from the Rainbow Club – in neon-colored earmuffs, spray-painted leather coats and jackets made from a patchwork of flyers – facing new generation costumes: think strong – short shouldered jackets with belts pierced with colored metal pin hooks.
âThis idea of ââperforating is the way a chest is made. It’s like an identity thing, and I wanted to move away from the LV logo, which is obviously what everyone knows, and develop a material that when you see it, over time, you start to recognize that it is is also Louis Vuitton. he said.
Jackets were paired with pants that clustered around the ankles, or long skirts and dresses that referred to everything from kilts to kendo uniforms.
âMy generation does not believe in this hard line between the sexes. It’s like, look at my nails, you know what I mean? he said, shiny nails painted neon pink on one side and silver glitter on the other.
This fluid gender spirit was captured by Kai-Isaiah Jamal, who last season became the first black transgender model to walk for Vuitton. The poet and activist channeled the two faces of the collection for the WWD preview shoot, going from a blue tracksuit with leather details to a gray belted suit.
âChanging your mind is maximally human,â Abloh said. âI question anything, and the answer is a puzzle, because that’s what we are. We don’t fit in a box.
Virgil Abloh has a taste for eco-felt at Louis Vuitton
Thanks to Virgil, ‘Abloh-ism’ is a new word
Virgil Abloh takes a look at the “Ethical Fashion” podcast