Louis Vuitton SS23 at PFW saw Kendrick Tribute Virgil

When Virgil Abloh died in November 2021, there was a question on everyone’s lips: what will happen to Louis Vuitton? Fall/Winter 2022 brought the late designer’s dreams to life in a performance-led show, and now it’s Spring/Summer 2023’s turn to give us the answer we’ve all been waiting for. Premiering earlier today, Louis Vuitton led Paris Fashion Week in grandeur and impact, kicking off the show with a cinematic prelude – something Abloh introduced to the house – titled “Strange Math”. He explored the relationship between imagination and reality and saw Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Florida, also known as the FAMU or Marching 100, perform a marching band of black members in a pre-filmed alternate reality depiction of Paris that, with the The push of a button on a spaceship transported them to the opulent live show stage of the Louvre’s Cour Carrée.

Arranged as a vibrant yellow Hot Wheels stripe complete with a loop, or as the brand says “a yellow brick road to the imagination” (SS19 show debut, anyone?) Louis Vuitton SS23 was about to begin. But not before the Marching 100 performed a five-minute routine wearing the FAMU uniform and some custom Louis Vuitton gear. It was then that the clothes began to descend onto the floor, supported by an orchestral overture that soon became Kendrick Lamar’s lyrical playground.

Singing “Virgil,” Kendrick soon turned the runway into a live performance that, throughout the show, covered Abloh’s name alongside tracks from Kendrick himself, such as “N95.” It was a poignant tribute to the late designer, whose work was translated by Louis Vuitton’s menswear design team into SS23.

A soft lilac suit opened the show, with dart collars, wide shoulders and slim sleeves, exaggerated lapels and floral buttons paired with matching pants, a clean white shirt, and a chrome, mirrored, and white bag with 3D LV logo all together for one. visual that is the quintessence of Abloh’s LV tenure. This was echoed throughout the show as various pieces continued the designer’s legacy in a multitude of ways.

An instant highlight was the brushed mohair coat, an incredibly simple white overcoat that was delicately adorned with purple flowers – not unlike the species that grew up in Off-White™ stores after his death. It was at this point that Kendrick Lamar became the focus of attention, dressed in some of Abloh’s best Louis Vuitton outfits to perform a freestyle song live on the mic, sitting next to Naomi Campbell as he did so.

Motocross clubs, introduced once again by the designer, were advanced thanks to a black and green motorcycle jacket that was paired with matching shorts and green tactical boots, while blazers in white saw cutouts on the sides and crew neck accessories. crocodile leather bags. The bold, saturated hues that Abloh was known for appeared in vivid purple denim hues, in beanies that blurred the line between whimsical childhood nostalgia and the frequent use of characters around the house in his work, while paper planes perched on top of a two-piece tuxedo like butterflies, nodding once again to the house cues that Abloh has introduced in previous seasons through invites and collectibles. The tuxedo itself also drew on recent trends, notably Bianca Saunders, who also opted for hidden buttons and tight, asymmetrical, disheveled lapels.

A steady assortment of varsity apparel appeared throughout the SS23 collection, most notably a bright orange leather jacket with fun puzzle shapes throughout. Other jacket-centric looks were complete with models wearing Louis Vuitton sound systems strapped to their backs or hanging off their shoulders and across their chests, nodding to Abloh’s love of music and architectural design.

Pleated skirts in shades of gray marl hark back to earlier work by Abloh, as are the three-dimensional pockets that sat atop a green and purple jacket, enhanced by the pocket size and texture. Rounding out the show is the awarding of all looks, with a handful of models carrying a rainbow flag. While unconfirmed, this could very well be the final tribute to Abloh as he debuted his first collection for Louis Vuitton in 2019 with a rainbow catwalk.

The Louis Vuitton SS23 was an “extended playground” that explored many house tropes and Virgilisms, as well as new versions of previous designs. Such references were instrumental in understanding and developing the collection, seeing it unfold on a catwalk that began and ended with a marching band – much like the funeral of a national hero. But despite all that, it wasn’t just about what Louis Vuitton had lost. It was also about what the menswear design team has gained and can pass on to the future, under the watchful eye of the man who transformed Louis Vuitton.

In other news, Givenchy went technical and literal for the SS23.

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