In Virgil Abloh’s most accomplished, ambitious collection for Louis Vuitton since he took over the reins at its menswear division, the designer sought to break down and dissect the archetypes of the male uniform. Riffing on stereotypes like the Artist, the Writer, the Drifter, the Salesman and the Gallery Owner, Abloh explored the codes imbued by society into dress and pondered how those codes can be shifted, adapted, moved forward; his show notes for the season summed it up as his experiment in how to “keep the codes, but change the values.”
The results of that experiment were presented in an equally lofty manner: a cinematic three-act film that was more multidisciplinary performance art than standard fashion show—there was dance, skating, staged tableaus and spoken-word poetry accompanying the clothes. The clothes themselves were some of Abloh’s most elegant yet. He alternated between slim tailoring and a slouchier silhouette, often topped by statement outerwear—the billowing floor-length coats were particularly alluring.
Rounding out the collection were text prints created by the conceptual artist Lawrence Weiner, multiple takes on Louis Vuitton’s travel bags, giant blooms that continued last season’s supersized soft-toy story, and wide-brimmed hats that when worn over headscarves evoked the Buffalo look. There were also plenty of personal Abloh touches—the Kente cloth draped over some of the looks nodded to his Ghanain heritage but here crossed with tartan to create something new, while the bags and buttons in the form of airplanes signalled his obsession with boyish wonder.