Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.
Today in Paris, Louis Vuitton presented its Fall/Winter 2021 menswear collection against an architectural green marble backdrop inside the Tennis Club de Paris. For the season, the house’s Men's Creative Director Virgil Abloh examined the archetypal characters of society, launching an investigation into the assumptions we make about individuals based on their choice of dress.
Starting with characters like the artist, the salesman, and the architect, Abloh’s designs aimed to remove the prejudice from stereotypes of dress by intermingling elements from all walks of life. Upon first viewing the collection, obvious notes of various cultures were present, though it was difficult to put a finger on their place of origin or inspiration—the businessman was seen sporting a cowboy hat; a two-piece suit replaced pants with a kilt; sweatsuits were draped in fabric overlays. As the show unfolded, it became more and more apparent Abloh’s intention: there is no definitive code by which a person should dress.
Apart from the intriguing nature of the looks Abloh constructed, the designer highlighted the urge to provide the same freedom, dreams, and opportunities to children of all backgrounds by diminishing this aesthetic standard. Concurrently looking at James Baldwin’s 1953 essay Stranger in the Village, the presentation was offered as a sort of physical performance surrounding the literary work, in which the author finds himself as an African-American man in a Swiss village.
In Abloh’s use of Baldwin’s narrative as a parallel to the way appearance affects our perception, the viewer may become aware of the ridiculous nature of these assumptions. This is underscored lightheartedly in the use of bold visual elements across each look—shoulders were broad, pant legs were wide, textures were mixed. Each garment was complemented with accessories like hats, long gloves, statement buckle belts, cowboy boots, and a selection of leather bags. A palette of neutrals came accompanied with several prints and flashes of scarlet, green, purple, and burnt orange.
While the looks were clearly constructed meticulously, it’s almost safe to say that anything goes. And by anything, we mean marching band jackets with skirts, sartorial vests reminiscent of Kevlar, wearable 3-D constructions of cityscapes, and leather moto suits with graffiti brand lettering. The new designs included unconventional looks like pleated skirts worn over matching trousers, a large denim overcoat with tails that drag the ground, and a jacket with a giant applique flower and airplanes in place of buttons. There were also some slightly restrained looks, including a suit in gray marble, a green textural knit paired with jeans and a matching cross-body bag, and several takes on a tailored pinstripe suit.
The collection also featured a collaboration with the artist Lawrence Weiner, imagined as jewelry and accessories, bearing sayings like “THE SAME PLACE AT THE SAME TIME” and “YOU CAN TELL A BOOK BY ITS COVER.”