Louis Vuitton Pulls Out All the Stops For Virgil Abloh Swansong in Paris

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Louis Vuitton pulled out the stops Thursday (Jan. 20) to present the final collection of Virgil Abloh, the house’s first African-American creative director who died in November after a two-year battle with cancer. The stage of a bedroom, staircase, trampoline and smoking chimney on the central Paris runway conjured up nostalgic images evoking Abloh’s childhood, dovetailing with themes that defined his Louis Vuitton aesthetic since 2018.

Here are some highlights of Thursday’s fall-winter 2022 shows.

ABLOH’S LAST SHOW

“Life is so short you can’t wait even a day” is one of Abloh’s quotes included in the show notes. It was typical of the epicureanism and optimism in this display — and the overall life and art of the Illinois-born designer. The color-rich presentation in the Carreau du Temple in Le Marais was a fitting swansong. It began with model-acrobats repeatedly bouncing down onto a hidden trampoline and back up onto a flight of ascending stairs.

Big peaked ears on Batman-like caps evoked his childhood obsessions, as did oversized baseball headwear or graffiti-style prints. Loose peaked-shoulder suits, often long in proportion, defined much of the aesthetic which riffed on basketball attire and the street. Despite the nostalgia, the designs had a typically aggressive edge from the erstwhile collaborator of Kanye West.

Garish sheeny purples, jelly bean blues and lots of acid color mixed with gold chains, thick collars and caps worn to the side. Prints and motifs gleamed in intentionally overpowering combinations. Abloh’s street-infused styles had marked a departure for the house from the more luxuriant styles of his predecessor, British designer Kim Jones. Now the big question is whether Vuitton will continue in Abloh’s vein, or change tack again.

In a sign of Abloh’s popularity, Louis Vuitton is presenting the show twice on Thursday.

soul, classic soul, motown,