Louis Vuitton Mens by Virgil Abloh Autumn/Winter 21

Virgil Abloh uses his voice to explore physical and philosophical archetypes of Manliness in a sublime collection staged in a simulacre of Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona pavilion. “Mies is my other Michael Jordan” wrote Abloh in the unique and elevated show booklet.

The Writer, the Artist, the Gallery Owner are some of the figures explored in a sophisticated presentation and video work mixing architecture, literature, visual arts and poetry. “Familiar characters in everyday society, they are inseparably defined by their uniforms: the dress codes we associate with professions, lifestyles, and knowledge.” Abloh added.

Imbued by James Baldwin’s essay Stranger in the Village from 1953, which examines the parallels between the author’s experiences as an African-American man in a Swiss village and his life in America, the show takes place between locations in Switzerland and Paris. “The frames of the performance revolve around the figurative notion of the art heist: the myths spun by society around origin and ownership of art, visual references and the creative minds.”

Artist Lawrence Weiner constructed a series of ‘aphorisms-as-patterns’ tied to the collection: “THE SAME PLACE AT THE SAME TIME” etc. inscribed throughout accessories, motifs and instilled in the techniques of the collection. These key words reappropriate the normal through majestic artistic gesture. Louis Vuitton continues invitations to contemporary artists (previously Richard Prince and Takashi Murakami to name a few) to structure their presentations.

Staged as a multi-disciplinary artistic expression of ideas investigated within the garments and bags, the impressive show featured other guests including Kandis Williams, Saul Williams, yasiin bey and Steven Sowah.

Louis Vuitton also places green issues at the core of its conceptual framework with the Upcycling Ideology, introduced in the previous collection. “In a fast-paced and fleeting time, repetition equals documentation: gestures made and lessons learned. The Fall-Winter 2021 collection exercises the three approaches of the Upcycling Ideology across fabrications, techniques and themes. The LV emblem exercised to imbue the “old” with new value, the Upcycling Signal Logo launched in the previous storyline is carried over in the collection.”

An iconic, intelligent and well-constructed presentation which brings Louis Vuitton to the next level.