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Virgil Abloh comes home with his final Louis Vuitton's FW22 show

A hymn to the power of imagination

Virgil Abloh comes home with his final Louis Vuitton's FW22 show A hymn to the power of imagination

«One of Virgil Abloh's most used terms, imagination is what fuels this dream. It's what drove him to Louis Vuitton what defines his legacy at the Maison. Executed in eight parts between 2018 and 2022, the work of the Men's Artistic Director is never content with simply imagining new clothes and accessories. He seeks to evolve the human values with which we imbue our dress codes, and test how they - as social, political and cultural signifiers -  can be used to implement change beyond fashion», this is how the show notesdescribe Louis Vuitton's FW22 show, the last designed by Virgil Abloh and, perhaps, also the most grandiose in scope and concept. The notes also describe Abloh's as a narrative arc, which evolved through eight collections and culminated with the show held a little while ago at the Palais Royal in Paris. 

The show incorporated all the main visual themes of Abloh's work: the iconography of clouds and kites, the youthful dream described halfway between utopia and autobiographical memory, the purity of the childish gaze but also «the unsung universal influence of the hip-hop culture that nurtured him». There was talk in the title of a "homecoming", both because the story of Virgil is compared in the notes to the classic journey of the hero, the basic structure of every human myth that always ends with a return home; both because the set is called a Dreamhouse, a dream house, melancholy paradisiacal because it is dyed with the colors of the sky and the clouds, where the performers floated around the stairs and chimneys, and the orchestra played sitting for a long time table – but also the umpteenth reference to The Wizard of Oz that begins with a house that, flying in the wind,  crashes to the ground whole. The farewell to Virgil thus becomes, and in a very brilliant way, a compendium of all his work.

As for the clothes, this collection was perhaps one of the most technically sophisticated of Virgil's Louis Vuitton, created with at its base that omnivorous cultural syncretism that mixes japanese boron stitching, the paintings of De Chirico and Courbet, the tie-dye that becomes a relief monogram, Magritte's surrealism, the inspiration taken from Parisian furniture with the transformation of lace into decorations and mechanical wings. The rewriting of the preconceptions at the base of dressing, of the fixed archetypes symbolized for example by men's suits, also passes from the discourse of genderless fashion, with long skirts and caftans that become part of the male uniform, both smart and casual.

One of the best parts of the collection were the bags: precisely because bags and backpacks are Louis Vuitton's most iconic product, Abloh's work of subversion of expectations and prejudices has upset the Damier print making it become an optical illusion, the skin of the bags now becomes shearling fur, now leather and PVC mosaic,  crocodile bags are dyed in tie-dye and covered with rubber while, on the contrary, Triathlon bags and protections used in martial arts are transformed into luxury accessories. A type of vision, infused with autobiographical elements and cultural ponderings, which the notes describe as follows:

«To Virgil Abloh, limitations are manmade. He imagines what Heaven on Earth might look like, interprets flowers as symbol of human diversity and finds civility in Parisian romanticism. He is passionate about surrealism but his work is never as passive as escapism. At the core of his ethos is a genuine desire to confront the issues of the world, and he approaches that dream with fervent pragmatism. When rational solutions don't seem to make the world a better place, he gives the opposite a shot».