Riffs on the bag were the most interesting aspects of Louis Vuitton’s Paris fashion week show
Louis Vuitton presented a tribute to the designers behind the label’s recent collaboration with Kanye West at the Bercy stadium in Paris, a hooded mohair suit and an abundance of cross-stitch-style knits and patchwork riffs on the square woven LV bags.
It’s been a busy fashion week for Virgil Abloh, who is the house’s artistic director of menswear. He made waves two weeks ago with the preview of his $1,000 Yeezy Boost 350. On Tuesday he debuted the collection. It looked like Louis Vuitton x Kanye. Not a miss, but no Beyoncé video either.
Virgil Abloh shows his first collection for Louis Vuitton. Photograph: Handout/Reuters
But Abloh, the rapper and designer whose work attracts rave reviews, also has a firm ground for Louis Vuitton, a business that had profits of $620m in 2016 and has been making a strong statement about modern style.
“The fabric team wanted to use the fabric for its impactability and love for layering and dexterity in the hands of a professional athlete,” said Marc Jacobs, the fashion house’s creative director, after the show. “Abloh definitely amplified this woman’s physical strength, to show her in contrast to her faithfulness to her well-crafted wardrobe.”
The runway was buzzing with chatter about that suit with the off-the-shoulder sleeves. This was from Louis Vuitton’s most famous collab: a “bagazine”, with a camera inside made by Tsumori Chisato, the Japanese jewellery and household goods designer, in September 2015. Their use of colour was immediately discernible – mint green and yellow really jumped out – and chunky rainwear was presented with minimal fanfare.
Continuing to make conscious reference to Adidas, brands associated with Versace and Yohji Yamamoto, the boy’s blazer featured the label’s signature logo.
Marc Jacobs appears to wink at Kanye West in his recent Louis Vuitton Yeezy Boost 350. Photograph: Louis Vuitton
Despite the less-than-staid quality of the show, which was set to Justin Timberlake’s Hold My Hand, laughter was prominent in the middle of the audience. Abloh found a tone of humour to break through the generally staid presentations.
The main focus of the collection was patchwork, or, as it is more commonly referred to, “ageless”. Red and maroon patches on the Japanese label’s motto “everydayness” formed a graphic motif in the show. Runway models wore pieces made from patched and split-tab scarves and loose-fitting jumpsuits, sitting atop a tone of blue and mint green.
Work threads were referenced through the use of a collar embroidered with the tag number “#M” – a move that was described as far-removed from “our brand’s future architecture”, as the company’s chairman, Yves Carcelle, recently put it.
The online reaction to the collection was generally enthusiastic. These types of pieces require a certain amount of will and bravery. The French campaign model, Masha Fisichella, admitted she “didn’t understand the start of the show. But after the patchwork, it was more understandable”.
•This article was amended on 24 September 2017. An earlier version said that Marc Jacobs was announcing the collection at Bercy stadium. This has been corrected to say Louis Vuitton.