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Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.
Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.
Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.
Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.
Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.
Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.
Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.
Fashion

Louis Vuitton and Nike Air Force 1 by Virgil Abloh is the New Amen Break

By Erica Silverman

May 20, 2022

Louis Vuitton and Nike ‘Air Force 1’ by Virgil Abloh opens to the public at the Greenpoint Terminal Warehouse in New York from May 20-31. Abloh, Louis Vuitton’s Men’s Artistic Director from 2018-2021, envisioned the sweeping presentation as part of the Spring/Summer 2022 collection prior to his passing on November 28, 2021. Throughout dynamic spaces, viewers will discover 47 editions of the elite sneaker in both physical and virtual form. Alongside the exhibition, parallel installations will be activated around New York and the world.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.

In February, 200 pairs of the exclusive designs were sold at auction, to benefit The Virgil Abloh™ “Post-Modern” Scholarship Fund. This June, nine editions of the sneaker will be launched globally and digitally, with members of Louis Vuitton’s community offered early access to the shoes.

The artist sought to share his childlike imagination and foresight of a culture free from preconceived notions of human and material worth, with international audiences. Abloh utilized his platform to honor the historical influence of Black subcultures on mainstream fashion. His work celebrated humanity and unity.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.

The surreal show will be enveloped in a lively orange, enhanced with a logo fusing those of Louis Vuitton and Nike. Designed as a grid-like structure, it is a blueprint for the imaginary city erected within the space, seen from above. Inside, visitors will find a version of the logo reflected in a mirrored ceiling. They will be encircled by 3D-printed statues like the ones Abloh built during his tenure at Louis Vuitton, framed by walls painted in the clouds characteristic of his show sets and campaign imagery.

The 47 editions of the Louis Vuitton and Nike ”Air Force 1” sneaker will be in motion on magnetized walls and in holographic displays, animating the sneakers with cues to the breakdancing rooted in their hip-hop legacy. A treehouse pays homage to Abloh’s fondness for the childlike mind. Inside, it recreates with fine detail spaces from the Louis Vuitton studio and atelier he furnished and created from on Rue du Pont-Neuf in Paris.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.

In a spirit of international friendship and respect, large glass boxes placed around New York City will display graphic globe sculptures. The five installations exhibited throughout the city can be experienced at Domino Park, Grand Central, South Street Seaport, Astor Place, Columbus Circle, Flatiron Plaza and Gansevoort Plaza. 

The Nike ”Air Force 1” was designed in 1982 and is celebrating 40 years as one of the most successful shoes ever created. For his Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2022 collection, Abloh collaborated with Nike on the bespoke sneakers, crafted in the maison’s manufacture in Fiesso d’Artico, Venice, Italy. The collection is grounded in the “Amen Break,” a drum break created by the funk-soul group The Winstons in 1969, which went on to be sampled and underpin the hip-hop genre. 

In June 2021, Virgil Abloh related his approach: “The ‘Air Force 1’ is a sample, like the Amen Break. A t-shirt is an ‘Amen Break’, a suit is an ‘Amen Break’. We’re all iterating on the same ideas. But, in my canon, the ‘Air Force 1’ puts the edge on the blade. This object happened way before me, but to get to a context where it’s adjacent to the t-shirt and the suit, its logic has been forty years in the making.” 

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.
Air Force 1ExhibitionsLouis VuittonNew YorkNikeVirgil Abloh

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