Virgil Abloh’s last pre-collection for Louis Vuitton was a bold and essential trip down memory lane.
Completed and shot before his passing back in November, Abloh was always studious in his approach to pre-fall fashion. He viewed the format as a chance to showcase the “essential garments of a wardrobe, 7.0’d.” Void of seasonal must-haves and codes of conventional dress, this time around Abloh has also waved goodbye to labels like ‘workwear’, ‘formalwear’ and ‘streetwear’ in a celebration of commercialism, “rather than deny[ing] it the way fashion tends to.”
Hardly a new theme for the multi-hyphenate designer, we’re talking about someone who brought the holographic backside of a CD to the fore for Kanye West’s Yeezus album, and took us on an immersive trip down the yellow brick road in his Wizard Of Oz-inspired SS19 offering. Indulging in, or rather establishing new forms of, popular culture is what Abloh always did best.
The collection begins with the basics of boyhood: a mix of monogrammed denim, veiled bucket hats boasting graffiti prints designed by Ghusto Leon (ok, not that basic), and checkerboard shoulder bags with patterned prints. Suiting is crisp yet rigid, a fusion of wrap skirts and utility vests in deep iris hues. The silhouettes are relaxed and free-flowing, pockets enlarged and luminescent. Furry gilets blow up the house’s signature flowers in glorious, embossed fashion, splashing them atop tactile ear muffs and dark, silky two-sets.
Abloh also wasted no time revisiting some of the staples of his excellent tenure at the French fashion house, recalling chunky bold belt chains and blue-skied gradients on leather cycling jackets. The rave-ready motifs of SS22 return in the form of sharp suiting, while slouchy tracksuits and flame-emblazoned knits speak to the next generation of Abloh’s eagle-eyed audience. Full of patterned charm and bold splashes of colour, Abloh’s final pre-collection ultimately sees him leave the industry as he entered it, brimming with visions of everything design can be.