Louis Vuitton FW22 Brought Virgil Abloh's Dreams to Life in an Archive-Honoring Tribute Show

Clothes took a backseat in a performance-driven show, referencing eight seasons of Abloh’s work.

Fashion
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Louis Vuitton crowned Virgil Abloh as its Creative Director — taking over from Kim Jonesin March 2018, debuting his first collection for the luxury fashion house in Spring/Summer 2019. Season after season, Abloh shocked the fashion world with his reworking and reinterpretation of Louis Vuitton’s legacy, his ability to take the storied label into an inimitable high-end streetwear-meets-luxury realm of its own, and for how he continued to introduce collaborations — notably NIGO and the upcoming Nike Air Force 1 partnership. Now, almost two months after Abloh’s death, Louis Vuitton has unveiled the visionary’s final men’s collection for Fall/Winter 2022.

With much anticipation, Louis Vuitton had the world waiting for Abloh’s final word. Opening with a cinematic prelude titled The 8th Field, Vuitton teased what was to come to the backdrop of poetry, murmured by Abloh-favorite Kai-Isaiah Jamal. Moving onto the show, which was set in the “Louis Dreamhouse,” LV started to consolidate all of the themes and messaging that Abloh’s eight seasons at LV discussed and brought to the table.

As an orchestra performed, acrobats jumped onto a bed and back onto a never-ending staircase before models descended onto the runway. Here, we saw nods to Abloh’s greatest hits — a purple iteration of the Pre-Spring 2020 sweater that numbered and depicted his design team appeared alongside floral two-pieces not too dissimilar to SS20, which was a flower bomb of a presentation in itself.

Angelic cues came in the form of models decked in white ensembles, many adorned with sculptural lace wings or veils reminiscent of a wedding dress. Crystals fell down sheer white fabrics hanging from leather monogram-embossed five-panel caps, and this concept of subverted luxury — something Abloh was renowned for — was only elevated with the tailoring.

Light blue silk two-piece suits were accented with utilitarian hardware and a bag-belt accessory around the waist, and tracksuits have never looked more tailored in their petrol blue velvet construction. In the bag department — a place Abloh continuously disrupted with his sought-after iterations of LV classics — we found the LV Keepall cut out into an abstract art object, a backpack in grey embossed leather with LV floral motifs placed on it like a rockclimbing wall, and all of this was happening as models danced, moved, twisted, and altered their body around the room, echoing themes from Abloh’s previous shows.

Other nods to the past included skirts, billowing with pleats, and this time around served up in more colorful shades rather than gray. Fur coats also appeared, as did a number of vivid sunglasses joining furry LV Keepalls, leather varsity jackets, boiler suits, floor-length draping coattails, and much more.

The collection didn’t seem to offer anything groundbreakingly new, because that wasn’t the point. Instead, it focused on highlighting plenty of what Abloh did at Louis Vuitton. While new sneakers did appear, there was little focus on this, allowing performance art to unfold before your eyes (while clad in LV). It felt as if the clothes weren’t center stage, which became increasingly clear as the orchestra performed a rendition of Tyler, the Creator and Kali Uchis’ “See You Again,” welcoming the Maison’s staff onto the stage before the show ended with a standing ovation.

Virgil Abloh’s final Louis Vuitton Men’s collection can be seen in the gallery above, while more can be found on the Louis Vuitton website.

In other news, Y/Project has debuted its FW22 collection, and it’s full of illusions.

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