Peculiar Contrast, Perfect Light
by Virgil Abloh
In the 20/21′ flipside of reality, creating through collaboration has proven fruitful. Not only does it bring light to the amazing realms of possibility, but also brings together a multi-disciplinary piece of art which can be appreciated from an infinity of angles. Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton Fall- Winter 2021 Men’s show did exactly that. Presenting a packed canvas of ideas, the work stems between the serenity of the Swiss mountains and the hustle of Paris, focussing on the emotional and physical experience of the self within these spaces. Thematically inspired by James Baldwin’s Stanger in the Village, Abloh takes on the same parallels between the African-American experience as a tourist in the Swiss mountain; the feeling of being gazed upon and viewed as ‘other’. Using this essay as a reflection on the “Tourist vs. Purist” logic within the collection, Abloh is commenting on the societal structure and the man-made illusional barriers obtaining this.
The show is made up of three acts, in which an original score has been created. First (and throughout) the incredible Asma Maroof paints us a musical masterpiece of forbidden landscapes and anticipation, an uneasy air in which we become enthralled in the story. We then have a spoken word piece performed and written by Saul Williams, who envelops the space apprehensively with a growing emotional vigour against the evolving, heightening sound of a harp. The soundscape is then followed by a jazz and sub-bass performance by Yasiin Bey who crescendo’s us with tenderness through the rest of the performance.
Then there are the clothes…
Upcycling lies at the foundation of this collection, an ideology created to de-programme our minds from a need to overproduce and overload. The collection plays on the idea of a neo-reality through this lens with its use of fabrications, techniques and themes. Old is no longer out, the idea is timelessness- adding to a canon of inspiration. There are many stand-out pieces to this collection, from quilted jackets to fitted coats with aeroplane emblems and pleated plaid skirts. Print plays a role and one which step’s out of typical stereotypes of ‘masculine’ wear. Of course, this is LV Menswear so suits run wild, but with the ’20s inspired pinstripes to block colours of primary green and yellow a twist on the classics is created. The real draw dropper, however, goes straight to the city-scape jacket- quite literally putting Paris and New York on the map. With a piece this unapologetic, its hard not to become enthralled. Through it all- although we love the pieces, the energy and the direction- it is the story behind the items which shout the loudest and brightest.
Overall, the collection is an insightful look into the powerful narrative fashion can have, and the ways in which we can depict this through alternate forms of presentation. If you haven’t already watched the show, we suggest you sit down and take it all in…
LOUIS VUITTON FALL-WINTER MEN ’21