Louis Vuitton S/S 2019
When we first heard the rumors that Virgil Abloh was going to Louis Vuitton as artistic director for men’s we simply could not believe it. Is this how much fashion has changed? An LVMH house, the crown jewel even next to Dior could be giving its top slot to a non-trained fashion designer? Unbelievable! At the same time, the world of fashion is changing so fast that anything can happen. Kim Jones was moved to Dior Homme, clearly upon new CEO Pietro Beccari’s request who knows a thing or two about growing a business. The Jones move was announced first and then Abloh. At the same time, it is a well-known fact that Abloh has been close to the Arnault family for some time. First introduced by Kanye West who even performed at the Fondation Louis Vuitton and then working on projects with Alexandre Arnault at Rimowa, the brains and number men on Avenue Montaigne probably realized that Abloh can move product and whatever he touches sells. So why not give it a try? Yesterday Abloh gave his debut at the Palais Royal with a wonderful afternoon outdoor show in the sun and many Parson’s Paris students to cheer him on.
What worked best?
When Abloh wore a white LV suit with a holster over his shoulder to the Met ball he gave a preview of this collection. The holster is for a gun but Abloh gives it pockets for the urban nomad. And many other variations of pouches, fanny bags and belt bags made their appearance on the runway. Best his neon colored multi pocket shells worn over the clothes. This was good utilitarian fashion and looked fresh.
What made us scratch our head?
In a way, Kim Jones never really managed to establish a proper tailoring message at LV. It was always about sportswear and many of Abloh’ suits did not look much different from what Jones sent down the runway over the years. Boxy jackets and trousers which looked like they could use some love from a good tailor. Not good, not bad, and as Vuitton is an animal skin house, many coats in heavy leather simply looked heavy. Why even try?
What will work?
His Louis Vuitton plastic bags are here to democratize fashion and will certainly be a mega success at the cash register as it gives the house a low entry price point it has been looking for.
What needs to be said?
Abloh stands for a new generation of successful black entrepreneurs who now not only dominate music but also the runways. Since Edward Enninful has taken over British Vogue, black models are everywhere and it’s wonderful. Abloh’s new black cast added to that movement.
Alexander McQueen S/S 2019
Sarah Burton rose to international fashion prominence when she designed the royal wedding dress for Kate Middleton in 2014. Middleton of course is the wife of Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and world famous. But then that’s not entirely true because from the moment she took over from Alexander McQueen as head designer, she vowed the fashion world with her skills. Yes, she was McQueen’s trusted lieutenant and right hand but to the fashion industry it’s been clear since her first collection for the house that she is one of its brightest talents out there. Especially her men’s collections have become much-awaited highlights. And in a season where Raf Simons juxtaposes a rich Couture approach to dominant street wear, Burton is another strong voice who could make the pendulum swing to a more tailored approach. She always offers a master class in brilliant tailoring where it’s immediately clear that only a true designer can be behind the clothes and not a stylist. Burton can make a powerful statement without using logos, witty fonts or graphics on garments. The clothes or better the fabrics and how they’re cut and matched say it all.
What was outstanding?
Burton always makes great outerwear and especially the very English trench coat seems to inspire her. For this show, she cut it short to be shown over a brown needle striped suit or to highlight the two tone message combined a khaki nylon top part with a brown wool bottom half or matching wool and leather halves.
The tailoring message?
When gender-bender collections define the runway and it’s no longer clear whether you see a men’s look worn by a woman or vice versa, Burton uses the moment to introduce a hyper cinched waist associated to women’s for her men. Most of her coats and jackets looked like tight corsets. Her opening look of a single-breasted two button navy suit with brown needle stripe coat was outstanding.
Is Burton over the Perfecto yet?
No, when Hedi Slimane made the leather jacket his totem, the Perfecto was literally on every runway. Just as it seems to disappear, Burton makes it clear that she never liked it for trendy reasons but for design ones. Her new long black leather Perfecto coat and overalls felt fresh and once stamped on multi hue colors soared.
What does new color blocking look like?
Burton’s finale of red and black and black and white color battles in coats and suitings were breathtaking.