By Laetitia Volga
PARIS (Reuters) - Structured suits ruled the runway at Louis Vuitton's fashion show in Paris on Thursday, as menswear designer Virgil Abloh opted for a sharp dresscode in his version of heaven, parading models through a decor of blue skies and fluffy white clouds.
Called "Heaven on Earth", the collection marked a further shift away from Abloh's trademark streetwear looks.
The creative director, who joined the LVMH <LVMH.PA>-owned brand in 2018, helped popularize loose trousers and hoodies as luxury items, including through his own label, Off-White.
"The collection was more grown-up. Abloh definitely made a transition from streetwear to tailoring", said Memsor Kamarake, an American stylist from New York who attended the show, housed in a temporary structure in the Tuileries gardens, a stone's throw from the Louvre Museum.
The sober styles in the autumn and winter range were offset by flashes of neon pink, in hats or other accessories.
Some models wore business-style attire, including suits in wool gabardine, powder blue ties and Chelsea boots, while all carried a backpack, a briefcase, quirky travel bags or trunks.
"It was so beautiful, I loved all of the shoes, the bags, the structure. Virgil is really great at a lot of things he does but the tailoring was perfect this time around. It was amazing," supermodel Bella Hadid told Reuters after the show.
The collection also featured an iridescent fox fur coat, a camel trench coat, ruffled jackets, sequin-embroidered shirts and sky-printed ensembles.
Abloh made his return to the runway after a three-month break. He said in recent media interviews that he had suffered from fatigue.
As well as working on Vuitton and Off-White, the designer has collaborated with brands like Nike, Evian, perfumer Byredo and luggage maker Rimowa.
The Paris menswear fashion week runs until Jan. 19.
(Reporting by Laetitia Volga; Editing by Sarah White and Frances Kerry)