The collection was unveiled with two shows, the first for the press and buyers, and a second evening presentation reserved for friends and family as a communal space to celebrate the life of Virgil together — a reminder that even in his death, the trailblazing designer continues to unite people and spur on community.
Presented as an octology, the collection was a sentimental and moving coming-of-age masterpiece, taking us through the individual eight seasons the designer helmed Louis Vuitton. In an autobiographical fashion, the collection follow the story arc of the hero's journey, whereby an underdog withstands all that is thrown his way, before being revered by his peers.
Beginning with the set design, the Palais-Royale was transformed into the Dreamhouse™, a surreal vision of Virgil's childhood home in Rockford, Illinois. Sky blue and misty, the scene spotlighted individual cross-sections of his house, from the bedroom to the dining room, with a sliced red roof like a Monopoly playing piece. Where Kanye's model of home for Donda was eerie and sinister, Abloh's was the polar opposite.
At the heart of the collection lay Virgil's taste for the experimental. Streetwear and formalwear combine into surrealism, Abloh's tendency to cross-pollinate both realms reaching a poignant and lyrical crescendo. Cropped white dinner jackets are paired with oversized baggy jeans that pool at the feet. Varsity jackets and hockey jerseys add edge to the billowing silks and austere silhouettes.
As far as accessories are concerned, Virgil takes us back to his teens, where 80s jewel tones like turquoise, moss green, royal purple were the palette of the day. Nostalgia calls for exaggerated LV belt buckles, balaclavas, snapbacks and five panel hats worn tilted on the head. The working class ingenuity of blending satin vests with your distressed jeans. Mixing the traditional with the new age.
There are lace wings, bouquets of material flowers, a twinkling soundtrack composed by Tyler, The Creator and performed by the Chineke! Orchestra. A reverie of community and through the invention of this magical dreamscape, a reminder that limitations are man made and roadblocks created by our own biases. This is heaven on earth through the eyes of Virgil Abloh.
It's an overall feeling of hope that dominates the collection. A sense that Virgil Abloh has passed the sartorial baton on to future creatives, pointing to where he's come from and what he's achieved. Emboldening them with the spirit of his famous saying "you can do it too".
How do you farewell one of the greats? The man who was Black excellence in action? The answer lay in Virgil Abloh's swansong, the Louis Vuitton AW22 Menswear show.
Explore the Louis Vuitton AW22 Menswear collection in store and online at the Louis Vuitton website.