Virgil Abloh Refutes Walter Van Beirendonck's Claims of Imitation

Citing the “DNA of Louis Vuitton” as the basis for SS21’s menswear show.

By
Fashion
63,641 Hypes 47 Comments

Louis Vuitton‘s playful Spring/Summer 2021 collection was intended to be a celebration of creativity in quarantine, an ode to ideation that stood tall amidst the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the affair has exploded with social media furor, as Antwerp Six member Walter Van Beirendonck lambasted the fashion house and artistic director Virgil Abloh for perceived imitation.

Van Beirendonck and his fans pointed out elements of LV’s SS21 presentation — including stitched-on plush figures and asymmetric eyewear — that coincided with the Royal Academy of Fine Arts Antwerp professor’s previous collections, specifically Walter Van Beirendonck Fall/Winter 2016 and 2018. Some eagle-eyed supporters took things a step further, alluding to throughlines of inflatable jackets and deconstructed tailoring.

“Virgil did it again: this is not just copying, this is using my world, ideas, colors, signature, cuts, shapes as his collection moodboard,” Van Beirendonck told HYPEBEAST on August 7, one day after the collection premiered. “He is paid a huge amount of money to be an [‘artistic director’] and he has unlimited possibilities to work with anybody in the world — he could have asked me for a collaboration. Tell Vuitton to contact the REAL THING.”

On August 12, less than a week after the initial scuffle, Abloh tweeted screenshots of Louis Vuitton’s Spring 2005 runway show, highlighting a model clutching an LV-branded teddy bear in a similar manner to the figures that graced his SS21 runway.

That same day, Kanye West reappeared on Twitter to issue countless stream-of-consciousness tweets. Two of those tweets cited the recent LV controversy, specifically challenging @dietprada and Van Beirendonck to “come for us all!!!”

Late on August 13, Abloh directly addressed the matter himself. “Walter Van Beirendonck’s claims are completely false,” he said through a representative. “They are a hate-filled attempt to discredit my work. The inspiration for my collection comes from the DNA of Louis Vuitton, specifically the 2005 Louis Vuitton menswear show, and it was clearly outlined in the notes distributed to the press when the show began. This is yet another instance of false equivalence to try to discredit me as a designer.”

The show notes did not directly allude to the Louis Vuitton Spring 2005 runway show but they did explore Abloh’s disparate influences in painstaking detail. Mentions of nuance, irony and recognized influence abutted reflections upon “the upcycling of ideas”; presumably intended as a nod to the Spring 2005 collection.

Elsewhere, quotes from philosopher Søren Kierkegaard and influential bandleader Sun Ra peppered the 40+ page show note document, later explaining the concept and backstory of Abloh’s “Zoooom With Friends” mascots. These figures were realized in the SS21 runway show by way of the aforementioned plush figures and inflatable sculptures.

Virgil Abloh Responds to Walter Van Beirendonck louis vuitton ss21 spring summer 2021 menswear show presentation collection imitation copy plush

Louis Vuitton, Fotografi Associati

Louis Vuitton reiterated the aforementioned sentiment to HYPEBEAST, saying that “all the inspirations from Virgil are included in the [show notes]. The stuffed animals inspiration is [from] ‘Zoooom With Friends.’”

Read Full Article

What to Read Next

TBD in Process Reworks Nike's Air Force 1 With Neon Thermoformed Acrylic
Footwear

TBD in Process Reworks Nike's Air Force 1 With Neon Thermoformed Acrylic

Releasing in limited quantities tomorrow.

5 Reasons The Latest Rains Collection Embodies The Modern Urbanite
Fashion

5 Reasons The Latest Rains Collection Embodies The Modern Urbanite

Presented by Rains
Contemporary functionality.

Stay Home Snaps: Off The Hook
Fashion 

Stay Home Snaps: Off The Hook

Staff sequestered in both Montreal and Paris are channeling their creative sides.


Nike's Technical Pegasus Trail 2 Receives Lively "Volt/Black" Update
Footwear

Nike's Technical Pegasus Trail 2 Receives Lively "Volt/Black" Update

Featuring a bike tire-inspired React foam sole unit.

Behind the HYPE: How Oakley Cemented Its Place in Sports, Fashion and Beyond
Fashion

Behind the HYPE: How Oakley Cemented Its Place in Sports, Fashion and Beyond

Tracing the allure of the eyewear mainstay since its big break in the ‘90s.

Christie’s and Stadium Goods' Michael Jordan Game-Worn Auction Reels in $931,875 USD
Footwear

Christie’s and Stadium Goods' Michael Jordan Game-Worn Auction Reels in $931,875 USD

MJ’s Air Jordan 1 High from the infamous “Shattered Backboard” game sold for $615,000 USD alone.

More ▾
 
Subscribe to our Newsletter

Gain access to exclusive interviews with industry creatives, think pieces, trend forecasts, guides and more.

By subscribing, you agree to our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

Help us serve you better

We appreciate your support in allowing HYPEBEAST ads, where we can share contents from the latest fashion, to those culturally relevant. In adding HYPEBEAST to your ad blocker's whitelist, ads on our sites will show while you continue to browse.

Help Support Us

We need ads to keep the lights on and to continue providing free news to our readers. We’d appreciate your support by whitelisting HYPEBEAST on your ad blocker. That way you can keep reading all the great stories for free.

If you have already whitelisted us, simply refresh this page. To find out how to whitelist us, click the button below.

Back

Add Us to Whitelist

We appreciate your support in allowing HYPEBEAST ads. Most ad blockers have similar whitelisting steps and settings. If you need assistance, please contact us.

Adblock Plus

  1. Click on the red ABP icon in the upper right corner of your browser.
  2. Click “Enabled on this site” to disable ad blocking for the current site. In Firefox click “disable on HYPEBEAST”.
  3. Refresh the HYPEBEAST page that you were viewing.

Adblock

  1. Click the AdBlock hand icon.
  2. Click “Don’t run on pages on this domain”.
  3. A new “Don’t run AdBlock on…” dialog may be displayed in the middle of the screen.
  4. Move the “Site” slider to the right. After that, click “Exclude”.
  5. Refresh the HYPEBEAST page that you were viewing.

uBlock

  1. Click the uBlock icon.
  2. Click the large blue “power” button in the menu that appears to whitelist the current website.
  3. Reload the HYPEBEAST page that you were viewing.

Firefox Browser

Firefox Tracking Protection may activate our whitelist notice, which can be disabled temporarily for a browsing session by clicking the shield icon in the URL bar and following the instructions.

Disconnect

  1. Click the Disconnect icon.
  2. Click “Whitelist site”.
  3. Refresh the HYPEBEAST page that you were viewing.