Virgil Abloh continues to redefine
Music plays a huge part in this sequence of acts for SS22, with the opening scene being dictated by a spoken word piece that backs a scene where models walk and dance their way through baron desert towards a portal. Entering the portal, they vanish and reappear in a cold, Narnia-like world filled with birch trees. While this concept of entering a room feels much like Louis Vuitton’s FW21 presentation, Abloh plays with an entirely new storyline, which came to life thanks to the film’s director Mahfuz Sultan.
In short, Amen Break tells a story “about a father and son united by an unnamed loss, crossing a dream world to deliver a message to the other side.” In terms of narrative, it’s informed by Lupe Fiasco and his father, an African drummer and member of the Black Panther Party, who encouraged the study of martial arts which, in turn, has helped Fiasco teach peace, understanding and empowerment to a new generation of kids. With this in mind, the story now unfolds.
Backed by Goldie‘s track “Dassai Menace” (who also appears later on in the short film), we get our first glimpse at the latest season from LV. Tailoring is contrasted by tracksuits, formal garments meet rave design tropes: it’s a world of polar opposites, but at the same time, there’s a sense of harmony too.
Standouts here include full-length belted trench coats in light sage green, accessorized with vivid green sunglasses and earrings that perfectly tell the story of businessman meets rave-goer, while other pieces such as the LV “Damier”-printed blazer with contrasting checkerboard lapels looks like a wearable chessboard. This is another thread that flows throughout the collection, as the story further unfolds to depict a game of human chess — all while Wu-Tang Clan member GZA (who’s an avid chess fan and happened to feature a chessboard on his album Liquid Swords) also appears throughout the film while giving a performance.
Still in the forest, checkerboard-clad models and others scramble before another scene is born, taking us into Abloh’s ode to Lone Wolf and Cub. Kai-Isaiah Jamal — who featured in Louis Vuitton’s last season presentation as the house’s first Black transgender model — returns with a spoken-word piece before the scene changes, seeing a katana being picked up and the doors of a school opening.
Inside, the whole Louis Vuitton cast is there. GZA’s track “4th Chamber” from the aforementioned album Liquid Swords plays, and we see more of this season’s core color: green. It encompasses technical, formal-meets-informal ensembles, or transforms from green into yellow on bomber jackets.
There’s new footwear, notably runners (also in green) and a few appearances from Nike, too, notably a wide range of collaborative Air Force 1s that bring typical Abloh tropes (e.g. “Lacet” on the shoelaces and “AIR” on the sole in quotation marks). In a nod to the hip-hop community’s hacking of unofficial fashion and sportswear collaborations — think DJ E-Z Rock wearing “LV” AF1’s on the album cover of It Takes Two — Louis Vuitton and Nike now officially come together to present exactly this, Air Force 1s emblazoned with Louis Vuitton elements, such as whole uppers embossed with the LV monogram, or others with LV-monogram Swooshes.
Back inside the school, GZA is seen playing chess while spitting his bars to “4th Chamber,” others dance in sophisticated black suits tied up with belts somewhat like an Obi, while towards the end of the scene, we see a traditional fight take place. Wrapping things up is the final scene, taking place back in the deserted wasteland that sees Goldie standing there in this season’s most notable tracksuit — a two-piece blue, black, and white look integrating the Damier motif into its design, partnered with cowboy boot-sneaker hybrid shoes.
The whole Louis Vuitton SS22 collection — including a closer look at the Nike Air Force 1 collaboration — can be seen above.