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Virgil Abloh's 5 most iconic fashion shows at Vuitton

From debut to "Virgil was here"

Virgil Abloh's 5 most iconic fashion shows at Vuitton From debut to Virgil was here
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Tomorrow in Paris the latest collection designed by Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton will be staged, a show that will be even more significant because it is posthumous, given the premature death of the Chicago-based designer on November 28th. The man who, from Pyrex to Off White, was able to offer an alternative model of creative director in a historical moment in which this figure needed a new definition and at the same time contributed to making fashion mainstream through a clear language, direct and all-encompassing, departing from the concept of fashion as an elitist world out of time and space. 

In view of the Louis Vuitton SS22, here is a list of the 5 most significant Abloh fashion shows at Louis Vuitton.

The debut show - SS19

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On June 21st Virgil Abloh debuted his first menswear collection for the iconic french maison. The SS19 men's show at the Jardin de Palais Royal marked the beginning of a new era for Louis Vuitton, a cult moment in the history of fashion that aroused conflicting opinions and at the same time enclosed iconic moments such as Kid Cudi on the catwalk and the moving hug between Abloh and Kanye West. Tailored suits with baggy trousers and double-breasted jackets, the collection began with a slew of all-white looks and then morphed into a kaleidoscope of colors: sheepskin aviator coats, clothing-influenced silhouettes, utility shirts and trousers in combat style, worn on the catwalk by Abloh's "famous friends", including Playboi Carti, Steve Lacy, Theophilus London, Dev Hynes, A$AP Nast, Octavian, the painter Lucien Smith, the artist Blondey McCoy and even the professional skater Lucien Clarke. The "Wizard of Oz" sweater remains today one of the most easily recognizable items of all his collections: throughout the show there were references to the famous 1939 film, often considered one of the best cinematic representations of the American Dream - then it also appears in a series of pop-ups in Louis Vuitton stores around the world. On the notes of the piece just published by YE "I Thought About Killing You", the booklet of the show was distributed to the seated guests, a real "vocabulary according to Virgil Abloh" in which ere given the definitions of fundamental terms of the designer's philosophy, such as "collaboration", "designer", "graphic", "millennial", "normcore", "production" and "streetwear".

The deconstruction of the male suit - FW20

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In AW 2020 Abloh decided to express his opinion on a topic he had not yet explored before and at the basis of the men's dress code: "Something you've never seen me before: the suit". The coordinated set that we all imagine as the ensemble of jacket + formal trousers, tie and fitted shirt is enriched in this case with jewel buttons, multitasking travel bags with logo, transformable suspenders and deconstructed blazers. Abloh has studied the "boys he saw on the road", the workers who hurry through the streets with nylon jackets over their suits, loaded with bags, and has come up with a functional alternative to the classic office uniform. A hymn, perhaps, to live everyday situations more calmly and to move away from the frenetic speed at which the world travels. With his gift-with-invitation, he sent the show guests a Louis Vuitton watch set to run backwards. We can't go back in time, he seemed to be saying, but shouldn't we waste it, that he already knew his fate?

The symbolic teddy bear - SS21

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SS21 was perhaps is one of the most exuberant collections produced by Abloh: psychedelic motifs, contrasting patterns, ironic vignettes, bright colors. But what really caught the eye in this whirlwind mess was the teddy bear plush, applied to electric blue and canary yellow jackets or hand-worn by the models. The "Doudou" teddy bear was not just an iconic puppet from the SS 21 menswear show, with the classic monogram motif and the color palette that immediately recalls the LV logo, nor an innocent quote from the maison's SS05 collection, but the answer to the controversial allegations of plagiarism brought by the Belgian designer Walter Van Beirendonck to Virgil Abloh. A symbol that becomes the spokesperson of several meanings that are enriched and confused with each other and that remain partly a mystery. Abloh on Instagram specified how the bear was designed by the then menswear designer of the brand, Keith Warren, inspired by the LGBT-themed cult novel Return to Brideshead (in which a teddy bear is one of the central elements of the plot), while in a seven-page essay on his African origins, he told of when, in a Parisian toy shop, he had glimpsed himself reflected in a mirror with pockets full of puppets of all shapes and colors for his children and had instinctively remembered , carved masks and traditional Ghanaian dolls.

Tourist vs. Purist - FW21

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"As children, our dreams and aspirations are personified by archetypes", Abloh wrote in the show's notes, explaining that his intention was to explore "the assumptions we make about people based on the way they dress: about their cultural background, gender, and sexuality.” By remixing topical characters of our society, such as the businessman, the artist, the salesman and the tramp, the result is an eclectic offer that defies gender codes and makes hard-to-classify models. Dramatic overcoats with broad shoulders and airplane-shaped buttons, LV's signature monogram-print leather reworked into jet-shaped bags and metal suitcases. And also Scottish tartan, cowboy hats, overlapping skirts and trousers and varsity jackets. The highlight of the collection were two sculptural jackets that reproduced the skylines of Paris and New York. The controversy over cultural appropriation in fashion is overcome by Abloh with a creative mixture: from the union of elements that are held together without synthesizing and eliminating each other, but something entirely new. The being together of different things, impossible if one immediately resorts to the controversy over cultural appropriation, could be what opposes the alleged purity of cultures. Abloh summarizes the concept in "Tourist vs. Purist", a motto that stands out on Vuitton bags or jackets. The "tourist" is the outsider, one who does not historically belong to a certain world, who has been excluded from it for a long time by the purists, the "natives" of a culture. Abloh through this collection tries to suggest that fashion outsiders, luxury tourists, those like him, are the ones who could bring a new vision into fashion and the world.

Virgil was here - SS22

 

Virgil Abloh's latest fashion show for Louis Vuitton was staged on Tuesday 30th November at the Miami Marine Stadium. The spin-off of the SS22 men's collectio seemed to be the synthesis of Abloh's work in the French fashion house. Because there, as many had hoped, there were really all those who had shared an incredible life with Virgil Abloh, Kid Cudi on the catwalk, as well as in the show of 21 June 2018 in the gardens of the Palais-Royale, but also Ye, Pharrell, Jerry Lorenzo, Don C, Samuel Ross, Matthew Williams, Sean Wotherspoon and many others. Someone called it a funeral, a last public farewell to give the right tribute to Abloh's work, but perhaps it would be better to say that it was rather the closing of a circle that began in 2009 at Paris Fashion Week. At the end of the catwalk, the crowd of collaborators from the style office, wearing a special Louis Vuitton Miami t-shirt, followed by the explosion of colorful fireworks against the backdrop of the monumental statue of Abloh positioned between the fashion show area and the location of the post-event concert, which seemed to be staring impatiently at the red balloon with the LV monogram as it tugged on its ropes relentlessly.