Friday 25th June

| BY Claudia Croft

Louis Vuitton: Menswear SS22

Virgil just gets better and better. The Louis Vuitton designer is blazing a trail at the house – pushing aesthetics, building a rich web of creative collaborators and deftly traversing the digital landscape with a series of next-level fashion films that act as both fashion and cultural markers.  Add to that a blockbuster Air Jordan collab and it’s hard to take your eyes off Virgil’s Vuitton.

His seventh outing for the house is presented in a film entitled Amen Break – after a fabled hip hop drum break and explores the theme of transmitting – passing wisdom, ideas, culture and identity from one person or generation to another. With a stellar cast, including musicians GZA, Goldie, Saul Williams, Lupe Fiasco and Shabaka Hutchings and Les Misérables actor Issa Perica, the metaphysical storyline follows the quest of father and son as they journey to deliver a message to the ‘other side’.

Abloh was inspired by the story of Lupe Fiasco, the American fine artist and rapper, who grew up on the South side of Chicago, surrounded by gang violence, but guided by his father, found a different path through martial arts.  Elements too of the classic Japanese kung-fu film Lone Wolf and Cub, influenced Abloh’s aesthetic with kilts and kendo costumes.

Visually there was a lot to unpack. The Yin and Yang of tailoring versus sportswear played out (Abloh believes we need both for a well-rounded wardrobe) and the designer also declared his intention to end male vs female dressing in favour of a non-binary, human approach to getting dressed. Ballgowns, mini skirts, crinolines all featured. “We have straight-up A-line skirts. It’s liberating in 2021,” said the designer who after a year when the BLM movement, trans rights and gender fluidity have come to the fore, is intent on “showing the freedom that can be”. It’s all part of his bigger vision, to “deconstruct and dissolve and melt away this idea that fashion is elitist, or fashion is for only a select few”.

Not that his Vuitton version of Nike’s iconic Air Force 1 sneakers will be cheap, but they symbolise for him the global coming of age of hip-hop culture, across every strata of society. He based them on a bootleg pair worn by DJ E-Z Rock on the cover of his 1988 album with Rob Base, It Takes Two, featuring a Nike swoosh adorned in the Louis Vuitton monogram. 

Photography courtesy of Louis Vuitton.