If there’s one thing we’ve come to expect from Virgil Abloh’s fashion films, it’s dramatic storytelling and the Louis Vuitton Men’s Spring/Summer ‘22 show was not short of theatrics. Opening the film titled ‘Amen Break’ were two well-dressed characters, one older and one younger, crossing barren land until they reach a single metal arch. Walking through it, they are then transported to a white forest. We later learn in the brand’s press release that the characters are father and son, “crossing a dream world to deliver a message to the other side. Along the way, adversaries conspire against the child, heroes emerge to guide him, and great sacrifices are made to get him cross the divide.”
The real inspiration behind the film is the personal story of American artist and rapper, Lupe Fiasco who grew up amidst the gang culture of the ‘70s and ‘80s in the Southside of Chicago. His father, a member of the Black Panther Party dabbled in martial arts and introduced it to his community as a way to get youth out of trouble. Lupe then brought the philosophical values of martial arts into his work, further impacting kids with the ideas of peace and understanding.
While that may be the whole premise of the film, the clothes themselves tell a slightly different story. With this collection, Virgil recontextualises two opposing qualities – Suit vs Tracksuit, Street vs Formal, Day vs Night, or Man vs Woman for instance – and unite them in a single look in an attempt to dismantle preconceived notions tied to each garment. A tracksuit regularly associated with being a ‘street’ item is merged with the tailored properties of a suit. Instead of trousers being for men and skirts for women, Virgil focuses on elongated lines as a human approach to dressing, resulting in several long dresses or maxi skirt-length ensembles.
A ‘rave’ concept is also explored due to the cross-cultural impact it has had on many of the subcultures that fashion is inspired by today. The dress code of the music and dance culture is seen in elevated neon tracksuits, tie-dye on leather tailoring, denim and skirts, as well as accessories.
Another highlight to note is the collaboration of the French Maison with Nike. This partnership created new expressions of the iconic Nike Air Force 1 trainer – a cultural symbol in its own right – fusing the House’s classic codes such as its materials and logo into the shoe.
Overall, there’s a lot more that can be unpacked from the presentation as Virgil’s vision for the collection encompasses many other aspects. Experience the show for yourself here.