Louis Vuitton: Menswear AW22

 It was his last word. His eighth outing for Louis Vuitton, the AW22 collection was 95 per cent completed by Virgil Abloh before his death, aged 41, of cancer last year. The shock of that loss still reverberates through the culture. What else could this ground-breaking man have achieved if he had lived? His wife Shannon, who sat in the audience, has pledged to continue his work to support the education of academically-promising Black students and with this show, Abloh’s cultural and catwalk legacy has been set in motion.

The show, entitled Louis Dreamhouse, was a celebration of everything Abloh stood for. Storytelling, great fits, a soaring soundtrack, superlative casting and virtuoso styling: it all came together for this last collection which played out on the sky-blue, surrealist set of a deconstructed house.    

Abloh’s signature theme of boyhood was once again expressed. He saw it as a playful, graceful state, where the imagination is given the freedom to soar and the possibilities are limitless. The idea was encapsulated by the dancers who opened the show, elegantly falling off the rooftops onto hidden trampolines before bouncing back into place.

The Chineke! Orchestra, which champions diversity in classical music, sat around a long banqueting table and played the swoonsome soundtrack by Tyler, the Creator as the models walked in pieces that will become collector’s items.      

There was the drama of a new hourglass tailored silhouette, the inventiveness of bags shaped like takeaway meals and bouquets of flowers and the crafted virtuosity of the all-over tapestry pieces which were renditions of paintings by Gustave Courbet and Giorgio de Chirico. Playful varsity jackets were embellished with cartoon characters, veiled lace ‘bridal’ baseball caps brought an air of romance to the show as did the heavenly presence of three lace-winged angels in the model line-up. At the end, the whole design studio took a bow on the catwalk and hugged each other as the orchestra played. It was Virgil’s last show but not the end 

Photography courtesy of Louis Vuitton.


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