Artistic director Virgil Abloh reflects back on his architecture background to create unique skyscraper puffer jackets as part of the Louis Vuitton Fall/Winter 2021 show.
The two 3D “wearable miniature skyscrapers” is really part fashion, part architectural marvel and part brilliant for social distancing in a crowded space.
Abloh, who’s trained in architecture and worked in a firm two years before starting his own label, Off-White, dressed the models in two iconic landmarks. One model is wearing the jacket that features French landmarks such as the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower; while the New York City jacket features buildings from New York and other cities like the John Hancock Center (which is located in Abloh’s hometown of Chicago).
"The building's material constructions and combinations informed aspects of the set created for the Fall-Winter 2021 presentation. 'Mies is my other Michael Jordan'," wrote Abloh in the presentation notes. Abloh was referring to modernist architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, who was well-known in the 1940s to 50s for his contribution to architecture.
Abloh, who’s been the artistic director at Louis Vuitton since 2018, showcased his latest collection as part of Paris Fashion week to a crowd-free environment due to coronavirus restriction. Models sashayed around American rapper Saul Williams at the Tennis Club de Paris, against a modernist set inspired by Barcelona Pavilion.
We see tartans that we think are ascribed to particular clans of Scotland, but in fact, are Kente cloth, indigenous prints that give nod to Abloh’s Ghanian heritage. The show wants us to break away from society’s predetermined definition or stereotype of an individual or an object, and we’re challenged to view the idea of an ‘ownership’ of ideas, art and culture, in our everyday lives.
In a press statement shared, “the Louis Vuitton Fall-Winter 2021 Men’s Collection investigates the unconscious biases instilled in our collective psyche by the archaic norms of society. Men’s Artistic Director Virgil Abloh employs fashion as a tool to change those preconceptions: keep the codes, but change the values.”
“The logic reflects Black cultural traditions that use figures of speech (irony, punning, riffing) to play with or reverse the connotations of established codes. These techniques create new meanings and subvert established canons; for example, the way a standard English phrase may have an entirely different meaning in Black vernacular English. Virgil Abloh applies these techniques to his design methodology, imbuing the grammar of recognised archetypes with different genetics.”
Among other notable things from the show are wine crates turn everyday grocer carry-ons to a 3D aeroplane bag that might just fulfil our wanderlust.