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Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer 2021 menswear collection debuted yesterday in Shanghai, much anticipated after the teaser film released last month during Paris Fashion Week. Following Creative Director Virgil Abloh’s continuous exploration of boyhood, “Message in a Bottle” looks at fashion through the eyes of a child and expands on the global nature of the fashion house and its ability to evolve through cultural exchange.
On a pier in the Shanghai harbor, models emerged from the same branded shipping containers captured in the preview, giving the notion they had only just made berth after the journey from France. Ideas of resurgence set the mood for the moment, bringing forth a series of bold takes on classic styles—a specialty of the maison.
Noting his place as a Black man in a French fashion house, Abloh offered an ironic parallel to his experiences with notes taken from The Wizard of Oz (and the iconic spin with an all-Black cast, The Wiz) using the delicate language of nuance. Stemming from Abloh’s hope to reveal opportunities for generations to come, imagery like clouds, fields of flowers, and dizzying morphos check were transferred onto prints, proposing surreal ideas of heaven on earth and unification through diversity.
The collection began unfolding with a series of elevated suits, flanked by masked individuals carrying clouds on sticks. A hint of fashion from the past peeked through in details like lean silhouettes with skinny ties, shirts with ruffled lapels and sleeves, and structured shoulders with boxier cuts. Quintessential menswear items were twisted with vibrant hues (like cobalt, neon yellow, and fuchsia), monochromatic matching, and distinct styling choices.
Designs were accompanied by accessories like leather hand and shoulder bags; futuristic eyewear (like a pair made up of a singular rectangular lens); a selection of headwear that reminded us of a cross between a top and bucket hat; and matching fabrications of the characters from the preview film, Zoooom with Friends. Standout looks included a suit in a neon version of the house’s Trouville print; all-over blue trousers and trench coat pairing with a matching frog hanging from the lapel; and a red quilted coat with a rainbow stripe, worn with blue pants, and multicolored sneakers.