“Virgil Was There”: Miami Welcomes Abloh’s Latest Collection For Louis Vuitton

“Virgil Was There”: Miami Welcomes Abloh’s Latest Collection For Louis Vuitton

“Is it too early? This is the question that arises, as the final collection of Virgil Abloh is presented just days after the announcement of his death. It was perhaps one of his last professional wishes – and in keeping with his furious work ethic – to end the show, but there is a brutal finality in seeing it unfold before our eyes.

Emotions run high as the show, broadcast live from Miami, opens with Abloh’s voiceover evoking a return to “childhood wonder,” while a repeating visual motif of a hot air balloon. red suggests Oz and, perhaps, the ascension to the afterlife.

Yet while every moment of today’s Spring / Summer 2022 men’s show – captioned Virgil Was Here – is backlit by the idea that he worked on the collection until the very end, the main meat of the parade is fine as usual.

Serena Williams wearing Virgil Abloh at the 2018 US Open. Photography: Juergen Hasenkopf / BPI / Shutterstock

Form has always been mutable for Abloh, whether it’s incorporating a tutu into Serena Williams’ tennis outfit or putting Timothée Chalamet in a harness on the red carpet, and this collection continues that idea. The collection is an absolute deconstruction of men’s fashion standards: silhouettes sag, lines are blurry and the lines between chic / casual and man / woman are blurry. A pink and white puffer jacket combined with a ballerina corset and a skirt? Why not: these clothes are electrifyingly futuristic.

Abloh’s work has always been meaningful and his last two collections for Vuitton flowed like multi-ideological jazz: separated piece by piece, it looked like a dangerously collapsed pile of ideas, but seen live it took it all. its meaning. Vuitton’s Spring / Summer 2022 and Fall / Winter 2021 runway shows were mixtape-type riffs on black consciousness, featuring Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA, Saul Williams, and inspiration from James Baldwin’s essays. He tied the staff (whether it was the kente cloth his father wore or his training as an architect via costumes with built-in dioramas) to politics, at a time that existed in the shadow of the Black Lives Matter movement.

While this Spring / Summer 2022 collection lacks that narrative element, the clothes tell the story and remind us that Abloh was endlessly inventive, furiously reinventing himself with every hat, accessory or pant cut. As the final creative statement, it seems like an underline of its core values.

“I am a self-taught explorer, and often I am also an amateur. My career in this sense is an investigative exploration. It’s about how to be a black thinker in white spaces; it’s about inserting the black cannon into the art history books, ”Abloh told Vestoj magazine, in an interview published before his death. “It’s about being a black voice that counts beyond the margins. I want to be able to look back on my life and my career and know that I left behind inanimate objects, yes, but also a logic that has changed the mainstream.

In the end, today’s show is an elegy to these wishes.


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