Virgil Abloh Louis Vuitton Tribute aroused emotions – The Hollywood Reporter

Only one element marred the Louis Vuitton men’s show on Tuesday, November 30 at Miami Marine Stadium, a moment that sadly seemed decidedly inappropriate for some guests. “offensive.” But more on that later.

It’s not too big a leap to come to such an opinion, especially since Tuesday night’s goal was clear: to pay tribute to Virgil Abloh in a show produced less than 48 hours after the artistic director’s death on Sunday, November 28, from a rare form of cancer. Fashion presentations during Art Basel Miami Beach tend to be very festive events, designed to nurture relationships with top customers while also making the brand shine with a high level presentation of its latest offerings. As around 1,500 guests waited to set off by boat to a marina near downtown Miami, the event showed signs that it would embrace this well-established formula, with cocktails and hors-d’oeuvres. artwork served to participants dressed from head to toe in their finest Louis Vuitton-logo.

The party yachts then transported everyone to Miami Marine Stadium, an open-air venue on Virginia Key; Built in 1963, the once popular site has been at the center of redevelopment efforts for more than seven years. Now awash in colorful graffiti, the concrete stadium ultimately proved to be a fitting backdrop for Abloh’s spring 2022 menswear collection, the juxtaposition of architectural relic and extremely modern fashion. Even this idea seemed expected, a strategy between the old and the new that is often explored by tradition-driven fashion houses.

LV embellished baseball jacket by Virgil Abloh from the Spring 2022 collection.
Spin Off Menswear Spring Summer 2022 Show © Louis Vuitton – All rights reserved

High-profile audiences were also suitable for a full-price Art Basel event, from Kim Kardashian West and Kayne West, with daughter North sitting between them, to Rihanna, A $ AP Rocky, Pharrell Williams, Joe Jonas, Maluma and Bella Hadid. . It’s far from an unusual front row for a Louis Vuitton show, but make no mistake: they were there to honor Abloh. “There are a lot of emotions,” Williams said. Hollywood journalist. “What he has built and what he has put in place is amazing.”

Brother Vellies Creative Director Aurora James agreed. “When we talk about fashion we often think of the idea of ​​’clothes’, but it was so much more than clothes for Virgil,” she said. “It was really a question of culture, identity, youth. He also made a lot of people feel seen; for him, it was always “us” and “us”, never “I”, and that is really important. I have also never seen anyone able to produce such incredible work. It was mind blowing. I am honored to be here.

Everyone settled into their seats as the sunset turned the sky into an indigo ink hue – and that’s when a seismic shift in the night happened, from the celebration at the dark. “This is the hardest speech I have ever given,” Michael Burke, CEO of Louis Vuitton, told the now silent audience. “The deeply moving show that we are about to see was born from an idea that Virgil first discussed with me three years ago. It was based on the traditional coming-of-age narrative – of course, being Virgil, he transformed and recontextualized the concept for the 21st century, and in doing so, he expressed his own unique talents and vision. This idea of ​​becoming an adult was important to Virgil, because inspiring and empowering the younger generations defined who he was. He used the platform he had to break down boundaries and open doors, to highlight his creative passions – art, design, music and, of course, fashion – so that anyone could see inside, not just to dream of being part of it. world, but also to find ways to make this dream come true. Virgil showed them the way.

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From the Spring 2022 collection, the Monogram print jacket by Virgil Abloh in a neon shade.
Spin Off Menswear Spring Summer 2022 Show © Louis Vuitton – All rights reserved

His voice heavy with emotion, Burke recounted meeting Abloh, Kanye West’s creative partner at the time, 15 years ago in Tokyo and inviting them both to do an internship at Fendi in Rome, his eye immediately impressed with Abloh’s skills and vision. “When the time came, Virgil wasn’t looking for the limelight, but the limelight found him,” Burke added of Abloh’s rise to artistic director of Louis’ men’s collections. Vuitton in 2018, the first black designer to hold this position. “He often told me that he felt a deep connection with Louis Vuitton, the man who walked to Paris in search of a better life and turned the world upside down with his ideas… during the one of the many long conversations Virgil and I had, he said to me: ‘I am now doing what Mr. Vuitton would have done.’ “

Then, before the first model paraded, we heard Abloh’s voice again, noting that his main inspiration for the collection was the idea of ​​returning to childhood, a time when it was easier for children to see. ’embrace’ the sense of wonder, stop using their mind and start using their imagination. The garments that followed expressed that sentiment perfectly, a streetwear parade meets exquisite tailoring, from daring mesh jerseys emblazoned with the Vuitton name in vivid neon tones to long coats in primary colors embellished with artful interpretations of the iconic Monogram and Damier prints. of the House. Abloh previously revealed most of this collection in a digital presentation in June, but this in-person event, featuring 10 all-new looks exclusive to a men’s store that just debuted in Miami’s Design District, was a sublime reminder of the power of the live fashion show, filled with layers of meaning and expressing a man’s thoughtful interpretation of our current life and culture.

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Virgil Abloh’s modern take of the Louis Vuitton Damier Damier print.
Spin Off Menswear Spring Summer 2022 Show © Louis Vuitton – All rights reserved

After the traditional final model carousel – a group including Kid Cudi, A $ AP Nast and Offset – fireworks in red and white lit up the night sky. Burke also mentioned that Abloh had been intimately involved in every detail of the planning for the event, and this particular moment of celebrating the man and his spirit in this way ultimately turned out to be deeply moving for many onlookers. who hugged and cried. while they watched. A walk to the post-show gathering not only revealed an imposing statue of Abloh, an embossed Louis Vuitton wallet under his arm, but also a closer look at the details of the night, as a bartender took in Explained why the champagne was not served: “The champagne was a bit too festive for what it’s about tonight,” he said. (Shortly after the show’s presentation, sister brand Givenchy and its creative director, Matthew Williams, announced that they were canceling their Art Basel event on Wednesday night out of respect for Abloh’s legacy.)

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A colorful raincoat from the spring 2022 men’s collection by Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton.
Spin Off Menswear Spring Summer 2022 Show © Louis Vuitton – All rights reserved

The evening would have been a perfect and sublime tribute to a game-changing artist – were it not for the one inappropriate element, quietly condemned by a number of guests both on and off the record. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were among those in attendance on Tuesday evening, and several in the crowd found the controversial couple’s presence as an unpleasant surprise. The official Stefano Tonchi, chief executive of world creation, said he was informed of their presence by artist friends who first spotted them on one of the boats heading to Virginia Key. “They felt it was offensive, especially in a place where we celebrate diversity and come together,” said Tonchi. “I’m not happy with that, and I don’t know how it happened, because we’re really here to celebrate Virgil and what he meant for fashion.”

Indeed, it was undeniably inappropriate to spot the couple at a fashion event devoted to honoring a man who put diversity and inclusion at the center of everything he created. It was a shocking moment that took the attendees out of the spirit of the event – imagine watching a calm and respectful play, only to see someone show up out of the blue so they could ring a loud one. ringing and discordant bell. Abloh ultimately deserved more than a conflict-free tribute, and the presence of a controversial couple throughout their four years in the White House simply shouldn’t have happened.

It was only out of respect for Abloh and the event that the face-to-face confrontations did not occur; After all, only badly brought up people cause trouble at a memorial service. Instead, the night was reserved for tears and smiles, the latter occurring when a drone presentation at the post-show gathering spelled out the singular and enduring message of the event: “Virgil was here. “

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