Who is next in line to head up menswear at Louis Vuitton? It's a question that hangs over the presentation of the French Maison's Fall 2023 menswear collection. There are theories, of course. But that's a tale for another day. For now, our energy is better spent leaning into the "what ifs" and embracing possibilities, as was always encouraged by Abloh, and that's exactly what the Louis Vuitton Fall 2023 menswear collection did.
Earlier this month Louis Vuitton announced Colm Dillane, founder and creative director of KidSuper, as the guest designer for this season's show. The guest designer role has always been something of a novelty; how will this figure interpret Abloh's distinct design language and legacy? As always, the answer lay in the fabled and intensely creative period of childhood.
More entertainment spectacle than textbook fashion show, the performance of Rosalía was just one feature of a many-layered community effort. As the Spanish singer crooned the lyrics to CANDY from the bonnet of a taxi-yellow Chevrolet, dressed in an oversized ash-coloured puffer and extra large pants, the creative input of so many other hands exhibited themselves. There was the set, of course, a tween-age bedroom redolent of coming-of-age tv was just one striking room of a larger house-like structure dreamt up by the Gondry brothers. Ib Kamara's styling made itself known and the child-like renderings – a signature of Dillane's – embellished the careful blend of suiting and streetwear.
All around the space sat evidence of a 80s and 90s upbringing, whether it's the desktop computer monitor, Louis Vuitton trunks stuffed with toys, a drum kit and keyboard or the vintage IKEA-style furnishings. As the models walked through one room to another, it was as though we were viewing the transition from boyhood to manhood before our very eyes.
That same tiptoeing of oversized and tailoring was struck, and what's a Louis Vuitton menswear collection without an assortment of playful and imaginative hats? Little sparks of inner child joy clung to the clothes, be it the continual motif of craft, paper and letters, or Dillane's expansion on wide-eyed script with phrases like "blurry vision of a bright future" threaded into a double-breasted overcoat. Is there a more pertinent quote for this moment at Louis Vuitton? We might not see it, but we like where this is going.