Virgil Abloh was pondering big questions while working on his fall/winter 2021 menswear collection for Louis Vuitton. Specifically, the designer was ruminating on masculine archetypes, and the uniforms and dress codes with which we associate them. The resulting collection toys with and subverts the meanings we imbue into garments; the garments themselves are transformed from the familiar into the unfamiliar—tailoring softened and blown up to billowing proportions; streetwear sharpened and streamlined; Ghanaian Kente cloths crossed with Scottish tartan. This led Abloh to then question the idea of authorship and ownership—once an idea enters the mainstream lexicon and an object becomes an everyday one, free to be accessed by all, who owns what? It is a question once posed by Marcel Duchamp, one of Abloh’s art world heroes, but is transposed here into the realm of fashion. In answering that, Abloh found beauty in the banal, turning coffee cups and pizza boxes into collectible luxury objects.
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