Louis Vuitton’s Fall-Winter 2022 Show Was a Fitting Finale for Virgil Abloh
Following Virgil Abloh’s unexpected and crushing death in November 2021, the Louis Vuitton Fall-Winter 2022 Men’s Spin-Off Show held in Bangkok on June 1 was a fitting and dramatic finale to his all-too-brief creative tenure.
The show was a recreation of Virgil’s Paris runway event from earlier in the year and once again highlighted the Boyhood Ideology® theme which ‘assumes the unspoiled outlook of a child yet to be affected by the preconceived ideas of society.’ Housed deep inside the luxurious ICONSIAM shopping centre, the event space featured a magical glowing orb to represent the sun, an upside down ‘Dreamhouse’, oversized silver musical instruments and a mysterious bat cave.
Over 700 of Asia’s most loyal brand aficionados, local influencers, Thai actors, K-Pop superstars (some with serious security teams) and an impressive and immaculately polished ensemble of local scenesters were dressed to full LV effect. Asia has long been the turbocharger for the luxury houses and this was on display in Bangkok as the opulent crowd more than rose to the occasion by flaunting Virgil’s most charismatic – and often challenging – creations. An appearance from Sydneysider Josh Huston broke more than a few hearts on the dancefloor.
Despite Sneaker Freaker’s front row (almost!) seats, it was hard to make out the footwear choices with any clarity. LV’s recent genre-busting connection with the Nike Air Force 1 may have generated supersonic buzz, but most of the models lapped the circular track in heavy boots. Less street, more stomp, though some new basketball-ish high-tops could be glimpsed beneath the billowing bellbottoms. It appears the bespoke pieces designed for the show won’t make it into production, but as always with Vuitton, nothing is impossible. If you know, you know, and if you don’t, there’s always MTO.
Less street, more stomp, though some new basketball-ish high-tops could be glimpsed beneath the billowing bellbottoms. It appears the bespoke pieces designed for the show won’t make it into production, but as always with Vuitton, nothing is impossible.
The music for the original Paris show was sourced by Tyler, the Creator, and featured arrangements by Arthur Verocai. For the Bangkok update, the downtempo mix featured tracks from Nuel, Stereolab, CAN, Clark and Floating Points.
For anyone not familiar with Virgil’s official day job, the heady mix of phantasmagorical storytelling and immaculate tailoring would be an odd and incongruous counterpoint to his laid-back Nike affiliations, but an LV catwalk ain’t no place for the fainthearted. Shimmering suits, vestal angels, acid-wash monogram double denim, alien beings, baseball caps with razor-sharp ears, OTT lettermans and a few glorious tracksuit mash-ups kept the entertainment dial locked to 11.
Despite the theatrical sense of wonder and upbeat energy in the room, there was a palpable sense of sadness bubbling beneath the surface. Virgil’s passing has left a creative and cultural vacuum – and a huge pair of metaphorical boots that will be difficult to fill at LV.
Questions abound. Who will inherit Virgil's baton? Will LV stay in the established streetified lane or will they double-back into more traditional tailored territory? Given the youthful optimism Virgil hand-delivered to LV on a pop culture platter, it’s hard to see the conservative option materialising, but the official announcement must be close as rumours are rife, names are dropping and contenders are circling.
So. Is it Samuel Ross – or Kanye (NFL!) – or another of fashion’s global wunderkinds? Who knows, but for now, rejoice in the imagery and video below as we salute the maverick genius that was Virgil Abloh.