Louis Vuitton goes green

For his third runway show for the house of Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh produced an inventive, clever, experimental and even elegiac collection staged with aplomb in the charming Place Dauphine on the Île de la Cité on the Seine.


Louis Vuitton - Spring/ Summer 2020 - Menswear - Paris

 
A cast of frequently fresh faces marched down the cobblestone streets of the triangular square, many with huge bunches of flowers sprouting from several smart new bags, notably a triangular weekender in a bright green Daumier design. Instead of the square’s usual gang of elderly, pastis-drinking boule players, hundreds of fans in standing room. Outside, thousands more frenzied youths failed to hustle past the vigilant security. Abloh is fashion’s hottest ticket these days.
 
Virgil showed massive billowing pants with oversized jackets in Provençal shades of lilac and rose;  lavender trenches in uber plissé wool; and composed marvelous broad-shouldered double-breasted jackets in the same colors as the coble-stones of the square. Several cast members wore garlands of real and fabric flowers. Many had farmers straw hats, finished with mountaineer’s rope. The mood was bucolic yet posh.


Louis Vuitton - Spring/ Summer 2020 - Menswear - Paris

 
Last season, however, Virgil Abloh got lambasted on social media for allegedly borrowing ideas from certain indie designers for his menswear show for Vuitton. Expect fresh attacks in next 24 hours.
 
Anyone familiar with the recent work of London’s most acclaimed contemporary menswear designer Craig Green will have been a tad surprised by the final looks in Vuitton. Green has made a name for himself for the multiple extensions he adds to many looks – from kites to tent to mini spinnakers. Which is pretty much how Abloh ended this spring 2020 collections. One hears the knives of Diet Prada being sharpened as one writes.
 
A really pity, seeing there was much to admire in the collection, as Abloh also dreamed up some great Wellingtons, finished with Delft-blue flowers; super new Vietnam veteran boots and one stunning fan-shaped logo tote. That, said, the show never reached the heights of Abloh’s own Off-White label, seen yesterday.


Louis Vuitton - Spring/ Summer 2020 - Menswear - Paris

 
Moreover, what many aficionados will remember were the similarities with Green’s work. Which for a brand like Vuitton, which prides itself on its meeting of artful experimentation and honest, haute gamme craftsmanship can never be ideal.
 
This show also took place in the shadow of main law courts of France. And those of us old enough to recall will remember that it was in those very buildings that Pierre Bergé sued Ralph Lauren for breach of copyright of a black evening dress back in the early '90s. Bergé won too, by the way.

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