Friday 21st June

| BY Richard Gray

Louis Vuitton: Menswear SS20

Place Dauphine, a small stroll from the Louis Vuitton design studios in the centre of Paris, was the destination for the brand’s incredible SS20 runway line-out. It was a clever move by Men’s Artistic Director Virgil Abloh after the house worked tirelessly with bar owners and local authorities to take over this picture-perfect Parisian street and square. It was the best setting for the designer to open up his customers’ wardrobes to dozens of new and exciting shopping possibilities. Throughout, Abloh focused on the nature of menswear fabrics, when he asked: how does this move? Does it hold its shape? This crease in this shirt is beautiful – let’s make it a permanent feature.

These small and exacting details were dissected and exaggerated, even blown-up. Fabric cord ties, were both decorative and functional, when they pulled garments together to allow a customer to fasten up a coat or jacket how they want. And those triangle tabs – the button holes on a gent’s back pockets – came oversized to become fascinating pieces of decoration. Fabric was folded over itself, to create patterns; these decorated the back of a jacket. And when a flyaway nylon mac caught the wind, it blew out at the back. Warm summer wind was a theme throughout the collection. The invitation for the show came with its own Louis Vuitton DIY kite.

The show notes spoke of the “beauty of flowers” and Abloh devoted look after look to dozens of floral motifs. Flower bouquets came as prints or as decoupage; there were embroidered flowers on long gauzy coats. Crocheted flowers were stitched together to form a giant “homespun” jumper. Flower-pictures were blown out to become hazy replicas of the original and printed onto a see-through plastic raincoat. The work grew increasingly complex, when models wearing kite-like structures walked on. Their kites seemingly caught by a sudden gust of wind blowing back on them. This was a thoughtful and ideas-packed spring show, which raised the game in men’s designer runway.

Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans