The most anticipated show of the season, and in all likelihood, the history of streetwear was Louis Vuitton, which showed its SS19 menswear collection today, the first from new creative director of menswear, Virgil Abloh.
The setting was off the charts. With a long rainbow runway and a T-shirt left on the seat of every guest, it was a nod to Abloh’s more humble beginnings. As he said in an Instagram post before the show, “like some kids today i started the surreal mission without “fashion school” but a blank t-shirt, a screen printed idea for it and a dream.” There was also a document titled “The Vocabulary According to Virgil Abloh,” which included Abloh’s personal definitions of fashion terminology (e.g. “collaboration,” which he pointed out there would be none of for SS19).
Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, Kylie Jenner, Travis Scott, and Takashi Murakami all sat near the live band BADBADNOTGOOD at the end of the runway.
The show opened with a series of tailored, all-white looks cut to clean silhouettes with close-fitting shirts and looser, billowing pant legs. On foot was a pair of all-white sneakers with neon-yellow laces. The procession of all-white ’fits gave way to a colourful, eclectic collection of utility vests, mohair sweaters, hoodies, short-sleeve polo necks, marble prints, and transparent holdalls with heart keychains attached to them.
Colour and gradients played a big part in the collection and its presentation. It’ll certainly be interesting to see how these items are styled to complement and clash with one another once Louis Vuitton SS19 is released to the public.
In terms of graphics, it was a pretty sparse affair apart from a few The Wizard of Oz prints on sweaters, showing Dorothy and silhouettes of her comrades as they followed the yellow brick road.
In the show notes mentioned earlier, under ‘R’, Abloh defined rainbow as “A kaleidoscopic palette evolving from off-white to polychromatic, synchronously forming a holograph archway known to represent the dream. A motif in The Wizard of Oz, which provides construct to the Spring-Summer 2019 collection.”
Appropriately then, walking Abloh’s rainbow runway, was a troupe of friends and supporters from the worlds of skating and rap: Kid Cudi, Theophilus London, A$AP Nast, Blondey McCoy, Steve Lacy and Lucien Clarke. Playboi Carti closed out the show in a holographic, silver-foiled cape.
Louis Vuitton’s iconic monogram was used sparingly, appearing on accessories and in subtle locations on garments. There were no air quotes in sight. And why would there be? Abloh’s work with OFF-WHITE was, by his own admission, an exploration of the grey area between black and white. His tenure at Louis Vuitton has revealed just what he can do with broader horizons, the backing of the LVMH group, and the legion of fans and supporters he has built during his career.
The show ended with West and Abloh hugging on the runway in tears of joy. A perfect end for the fashion outsiders who were interning at Fendi only a few years ago.