Louis Vuitton’s artistic director, Virgil Abloh, has always been obsessed with the notion of childhood. Throughout his collections for the fashion house, he has indulged in the theme with a distinct curiosity, placing bouncy castles in the centre of Paris, and crafting a virtual comic book in lieu of the traditional runway format, which has been challenged throughout the pandemic.
The Autumn-Winter show shared similar motifs, exploring the concept through a Narnia-esque introduction - performed by poet Saul Williams. Inspired by James Baldwin’s essay ‘stranger in the village’, the barren, snowy alps seem obsolete, before he makes his way into a typically elegant marble departure lounge.
It’s at this point, where Abloh’s vision really comes to life. “Take down the walls. Deconstruct the narrative” Williams bellows, whilst tailored businessmen walk the runway with LV football armbands and neon sunglasses. Virgil consistently challenges the conventions of masculinity, and for AW21, he continued to reconsider the perception of the archetypal man. From tartan skorts to floor-length coats and inflamed rose broaches, the eclectic mix of alternative tailoring established a radical impression on how a man should dress in 2021.
Saul Williams was not the only poet to present his work in the show. Kai-Isaiah Jamal became the first black, transgender poet and model to walk for Louis Vuitton, breaking another boundary previously held within the fashion house. This whole collection was about subversion, and Virgil really nailed the theme in his runway. Mos Def, as with many other black models, came out wearing two piece suits, durags and cowboy hats - who said you can’t be a businessman, rodeo and protect your waves at the same time?
Below are three key fits that we think need a bit more analysis after LV’s AW21 show.
With his roots embedded in architecture, Virgil’s wearable sculptures felt like only a matter of time. The Paris puffer jacket is one of Abloh’s most divisive pieces yet, but its lack of wearability will make it difficult for people to fully appreciate. Constructed from sportswear fabrics, the coat attaches Paris’ key landmarks across its body, providing a reminder for anyone living outside the city how beautiful a place it is. Still, you won’t be catching us in it anytime soon.
Louis Vuitton’s in business
More than anything, LV’s AW21 collection provided gear for the working man. Coffee Cups, self-branded broadsheets and striped suiting will turn the heads of any stinkingly rich human, but its the cardigans that really caught our eye. Coming in a chestnut brown and emerald green, the cosy garment looks great over the model’s fitted shirts.
Virgil’s missing his flight heavy lifestyle
Abloh brought us as close as we will be getting to flying for sometime in this collection, with a multiplicity of plane themed items. Plane buttoned coats, shaped bags and knitted jumpers accentuated the designer’s obsession with flying, and reminded us all of the cabin fever we are currently experiencing.