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Art Basel 2021

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Go inside the worlds of art, fashion, design, and lifestyle.

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

Virgil Abloh Explores the Impact of Transmission in Louis Vuitton Men’s SS22

By Eliza Jordan

June 24, 2021

Today before the Louis Vuitton men’s Spring/Summer 2022 show in Paris, designer Virgil Abloh teased his inspirations on Instagram. In his caption, he wrote that Marcel Duchamp once did a double-take at a urinal, and referenced David Hammons fascination with snowballs. “The logic around my fashion show invites were born,” Abloh said.

For his seventh show with the house, he sent invites out based on the idea of play—some received the three-cup magic set with ball, others a deck of cards depicting historical Black figures, and others received a jigsaw puzzle of the house’s monogram.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.

Before the show, Abloh also teased some of his WhatsApp messages with those close to him—like his audio producer and his driver—about wanting to skateboard to the show and play In My Lifetime by Jay-Z on repeat while guests arrive.

For those not able to attend in person, a Mahfuz Sultan-directed film entitled Amen Break was produced, featuring talent like GZA, Goldie, Saul Williams, Issa Perica, Caleb Femi, JIM JOE, Kandis Williams, Thelma Buabeng, Octavia Burgel, Lupe Fiasco, Julian Eugene Tsukasa Williams, Damian Eugene Nagisa Williams, Shabaka Hutchings, and Malik Le Nost.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.

In it, Abloh visually explored ideas of transmission. Passing something from one person to another has long been the designer’s main game in fashion—passing the torch from one generation to the next, collaborating with those that inspired him and vice-versa. Here, he explored the idea of impact a bit further, painting a story of a father and son that unite through loss. Through his journey, the young man meets others who conspire against him and guide him, breaking boundaries and dismantling complex ideas about who he is and the world he lives in.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.

A young man awakes from beneath a hat and a ski mask-like face covering on a tabletop, clutching a samurai sword. He wanders into a landscape crumbling with light stone rocks and into a forest with thin white birch tree trunks. There, other characters emerge in loud outfits that pop from the forest scene. Looks for both the warm and cool seasons ahead evoked a sense of freedom, expression, and nuanced personal style. Hats of all kinds—ranging from baseball caps by Don Crawley and military berets to slouchy, crinkled top hats—were adorned with pins, popping in contrast against oversized ear muffs, and met at the brim with new sunglasses of all shapes and sizes.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.


As the figures fade away, the sun sets, and the scene is dark. Glowing in the distance is The Tornado School, and as he approaches, the doors glide open. The space is an ode to one of the main actors in the film, Lupe Fiasco, and his father, Gregory Jaco, who ran a community center to empower youth in Chicago (where Abloh was also raised). Inside, the atmoshphere is anchored by a simple wooden set with a stage and a chess table at its center. A banner hung above the platform reads “7th International Presentation Tournament” in Japanese, as two chess professionals perform with samurais above. Slowly between lines of people behind the players, others dance and stare at one another, slowly passing by to reveal Abloh’s latest looks.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.

Tailoring is a top note—with jackets, pants, vets, and suits grabbing attention with strict cuts and immaculate stitching, as well as bright colors and bold patterns. Accessories—like hockey padded gloves and mitts, playful rings and bracelets, oversized charms and belt buckles—are seen topping garments, too. Turtleneck tops with elongated necks are pulled up and over the chin and top of the head, grey trousers are slit at the slides, cross-closed suits with scalloped edges and pockets are worn with simple trousers and sneakers, and hoodies with oversized hood ties are worn under multi-pattern jackets paired with high-low kilt-like shirts that part and sweep the floor.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.

But this collection’s stars are its accessories for the proud sneakerheads in the back. For Spring/Summer 2021, Louis Vuitton collaborated with Nike to build upon Abloh’s sold-out designs for the brand in the past. Revealed in slow motion were iconic renditions of the Nike Air Force 1 Trainer adorned with recognizable Abloh touches—from “AIR” in quotes along the midsole and laces with slang writing on them, like “LACET.”  Special, though, was the mashup of color and print, with new green and yellow hues catching the eye with the luxury fashion house’s “LV” and floral monogram taking over Nike’s swoosh, tongue, eyestays, toebox, tip, heel, and more.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of Louis Vuitton.

To complement these new colors, new bags ran rampant. Abloh’s iridescent bags of recent past returned in bolder gradient hues, green Keepall models featured large black question marks on its body, circular hat bag-like styles appeared with several pink bobby pin closures and a “No. 7” on its face, and dynamic landscapes seemingly painted onto suits nearly matched the print of the bag held next to it. Other items—like a large, multicolor duffle bag made to look like a fish, worn as a backpack—delighted the eyes with an array of colors that also appeared down below on shoes we’ll surely be thinking about until next season.

Louis VuittonSS22Virgil Abloh

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