Le Corbusier’s Firminy complex – a Lyon-based build from one of Virgil Abloh’s favourite architects – provides the backdrop for the designer’s final Louis Vuitton pre-fall collection. Across shapely sportswear pieces that blend bright colours with unrestricted tailoring, patchwork jackets and jeans appear in alternating shades of dark denim. Checkerboard knits glow in hues of gradient neon across zip-ups, or bear distressed motifs on tactile mohair cardigans. Then come the black leather varsity jackets, candy-coloured necklaces and voluminous trousers, each brimming with personality and unique, stylistic flair.
Abloh continuously shared that his clothing philosophy is informed by the clothes people actually wear, and though his approach to design is very much grounded in such reality, it still, somehow, feels so out of this world. “What I do is an analysis of a generation: what do people buy and why do they wear it? That question naturally creates an equal interest in tradition as it does in changing tradition,” Abloh explained. “But it’s also about challenging myself and exploring different land. That is creative freedom.”
And so he mixes the baggy silhouettes of his quilted turquoise puffer’s with body-hugging roll-necks and flowing wrap skirts or pairs off slender, bottle-green jackets with acidic bags that stretch across the body. Flitting between generations of style codes is where the designer ultimately felt most at home, breathing life into his shows with experimental silhouettes and vibrant colour combinations. It was as much about mapping out fashion’s future as it was about preserving its past, and for that, we’ll miss him the most.