Louis Vuitton SS23 Mens Put French Romanticism and Youthful Joy Front and Centre
Earlier today, Louis Vuitton held their SS23 men's runway at the Carrée du Louvre in Paris. Drawing from both classical French romanticism – a theme that has long been a staple of the house's garments and accessories – and the freedom and joy of a playground, the show was what LV described as a 'cathartic process'. This characterisation was apt, as it's been rumoured that this collection will be the last one put together by the late, great Virgil Abloh's team before a new creative director is named.
The show was opened by a drill squad and Florida A&M's famous marching band, The Marching 100, who, in a glorious show of pride, pomp and circumstance, led the models onto the stage. Kendrick Lamar, wearing a diamond crown of thorns, took part in the show as well, performing 'Savior' from Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers while sitting in the front row next to supermodel Naomi Campbell. Of course, Lamar has a long history with Abloh – he wore a Pyrex Vision hoodie to perform on the Late Show with David Letterman back in 2013, and rocked a full custom Louis Vuitton menswear look for his memorable performance at the Super Bowl LVI halftime show.
Flower fields were a recurring theme throughout the collection, with impressionist flower paintings used as inspiration for patterns and prints, while thistles were used as inspiration for woven fabrics, embroidered details and prints of their own. Classical Parisian architecture informed the offerings as well, with their detailed orifices informing moulded tailoring, intricate leather bags and airy lace garments.
It wasn't all pomp, circumstance and classical royalty though, as a fun-filled and streetwise 'playground' ethos was communicated by everything from origami-inspired paper planes, textures and tones inspired by Play-Dough, cartoon prints and embellishments that drew from sandbox tools. These were combined with the flowing lines and unique dimensions native to 1990s skateboarding style for a literal, physical nod to the process of 'growing up'.
The pieces that caught our eye the most (besides the sneakers, of course, which we'll get to in a moment) were the hand-crocheted jackets and the highly-detailed belts. Abloh's team's precise attention to detail was paramount across each piece, and the overall vibrancy in colour across the 72-look collection was striking, with even the muted grey pieces offering plenty of flair.
After last month's reveal of the LVSK8 and Hi 8 sneakers plus the hullabaloo surrounding the Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 collection, we were eagerly anticipating the brand's new footwear lineup – and they didn't disappoint! The new Le Boyhood sneaker was the standout of the collection, a chunky silhouette with fat laces accented by either beads or silicone blocks. The Sabot is LV's official entry into the ever-expanding #clogcore movement, a lightweight slip-on that houses a neoprene sock. There was also a motorcycle boot/sneaker hybrid dubbed the Midnight 2.0 and fresh boots and loafers – each of which was dubbed the 'Baroque'.
As one of the most storied fashion houses in the world, eyes are on Louis Vuitton to be a leader in the sustainability space as well. Therefore, the SS23 collection featured several upcycled looks, including pieces that were crafted from material overstock as well as re-worked iterations of previous pieces. LV explicitly stated that it was important for them to present collections full of 'pieces that make looks' instead of 'looks that have pieces in them'.
Rumours have begun to swirl about who LV will tap for the vacant creative director role, with Grace Wales Bonner and Martine Rose emerging as trendy predictions. No matter who takes the reins, one thing is for certain: the legacy Virgil Abloh established at Louis Vuitton will live forever!