What do you picture when you think of a business man? Chances are, the first image that invaded your thoughts was one wearing a sharp tailored suit. In Virgil Abloh’s universe, he wears a cowboy hat.
For his latest collection for Louis Vuitton, the creative director took to the Tennis Club de Paris to completely redefine society’s rigid archetypes. According to the fashion house, the collection is an examination of the “unconscious biases instilled in our collective psyche by the archaic norms of society.”
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Set against a green marble backdrop, models floated down the runway to various scenes referencing James Baldwin’s essay Stranger in the Village. In the 1953 essay, Baldwin assesses himself as an African-American man in the middle of a Swiss village. In Virgil Abloh’s show, American artist Saul Williams—who rose to prominence for his blend of poetry and hip-hop—is mountain-side, reciting a poem examining what being Black in America before drifting off to the Tennis Club de Paris to strut down the runway sporting a tailor-made black coat and a silver briefcase.
Yasiin Bey takes over with a performance, wearing a green monogram coat and cowboy boots, kicking off Abloh’s investigation of archetypes.
He explores characters like ‘the artist’, ‘the drifter’, ‘the salesman’, and ‘the architect’, and overall, “the presumptions we make about people based on the way they dress: their cultural background, gender, and sexuality.”
In emphasizing the characters, Virgil aims to break them down. The creative director made it all clear for anyone that missed it, working with artist Lawrence Weiner on a series of jewelry and accessories that read sayings like ‘YOU CAN TELL A BOOK BY ITS COVER’, and ‘THE SAME PLACE AT THE SAME TIME’.
For the collection, Virgil took to celebrating his Ghanian culture using Kente cloth mixed with LV patterns and plaid checks. It was seen on totes, kilts, a kimono-like puffer jacket or simply draped around the body. The tailoring was sharp and clean-cut from floor-length coats and fur pinstripe suits to classic shirts with shoulder pads and stuffed harnesses. LV monogrammed suits were present as always only this time they were transparent made of PVC and what seemed like sheer muslin.