Virgil Abloh’s spirit lives on at Louis Vuitton in Paris

Virgil Abloh’s spirit lives on at Louis Vuitton in Paris

A model wears a creation as part of the Rick Owens men's Spring Summer 2023 collection presented in Paris, France, Thursday, June 23, 2022.  (AP Photo/Christophe Ana)

A model wears a creation as part of the Rick Owens men’s Spring Summer 2023 collection presented in Paris, France, Thursday, June 23, 2022. (AP Photo/Christophe Ana)

AP

He may have died last November, but Virgil Abloh lived Thursday in a high-energy runway for Louis Vuitton menswear at Paris Fashion Week. A black marching band gave a scintillating performance at a surreal yellow brick road installation inside the Louvre, while rapper Kendrick Lamar made a live performance for the American fashion star, who was Vuitton’s menswear designer from 2018 until his death.

Here are some of the highlights of Thursday’s spring-summer 2023 show in Paris.

now marching off

“Long live Virgil … how many miles away?” Lamar rapped live at the loud Hot Vuitton show. The yellow road that circles the Louvre’s oldest courtyard recalls the spirit of the “Wizard of Oz” and a childhood passion in Abloh’s designs – as did a colorfully dressed marching band, including several members of the Florida A&M University Band. And the dancing troupe did. Which appeared noisily at the beginning and end of the show.

This spring-summer show was presented for the first time since Abloh’s death that he did not design (the previous was posthumously based on his own creations). On Thursday, instead it was a collection conceived entirely in their spirit by Vuitton Studios. This rare continuation of a former designer’s aesthetic at Vuitton is a strong indication of the level of influence that man wielded.

Stars like Omar C, Jessica Biel, Justin Timberlake, Joel Edgerton and Naomi Campbell carried on his legacy.

Vuitton’s studio show

It is a remarkable feat for a studio to emulate a former designer’s styles – with originality.

This was the case at Thursday’s display: quirks cut in zigzag patterns from shirt hems, 3-D paper plane appliqués on suits, and other kinds of, elongated silhouettes.

A finely tailored jacket with trompe l’oeil prints offers one of the many touches of old-school luxury. Moments like these in this collection went beyond even Abloh’s own runway designs.

She drew a careful line between the playful styles she associated with the house since 2018 and the fabulous luxury tailoring seen during the tenure of the predecessor Kim Jones.

The display’s strength was due to its many feats of design. A case in point was the waistcoat over a black double-breasted jacket that was pulled down to resemble a V on its side. Its very silhouette evoked the monogram of the house.

Louis Vuitton’s design studio bucked a lot of cooks’ tendency to spoil the broth.

Death-defying fashion at Homme Pliss Issey Miyake

Blurring the line between fashion and performance, Issei Miyake’s Japanese home for Homme Pliss used a troupe of acrobats who contrasted, danced and beheaded for a spectacular Paris Fashion Week men’s show .

Models inspired by flowers and vases mingle with the artists inside the newly renovated La Poste du Louvre for this unusual and sensitive display of fashion design through dance.

From a hidden ledge above the courtyard runway, a dance troupe suddenly stood mid-show to gasp from the audience. Dressed in pastel-colored, loosely pleated robes, the performers then climb down the stairs, making death-defying jumps, falls and falls. The performers were tossed into the air like missiles to be caught by the dancers in the courtyard. There was no safety net over the hard stone floor.

The show was directed by Rachid Ouramden of the Théâtre National de Chalot, with a group of acrobats, Compagnie XY.

In comparison, the fashion itself was soft. Gradual curves at the neck and midriff imitate the shape of a vase with a nice weight that produces a dynamic silhouette. A pleated tunic in pastel red was paired with a short jacket, which featured breast panels that resembled that of an Asian warrior. Elsewhere, a waistcoat in fiery dandelion sported studded pockets that flared up like an early flower.

Color-blocking was also a strong theme—with pastel purples with blush and raisin blacks on one look, and pastel yellows and midnight blues on the other. It was a strong return to the runway for Homme Pliss in Issey Miyake.

Rick Owens’ Ancient Egypt

American designer Rick Owens reached out to the ancient world for inspiration, returning from a stay in Egypt and a visit to the Temple of Edfu on the Nile.

A frequent philosopher, Owens said that his “personal concerns … feel petty in the face of that kind of timelessness.” She has commented on the pandemic’s impact in recent seasons in fashion and beyond – and embraced the lockdown as a time of introspection.

Owens has always had an aesthetic riffing on the guise of ancient Egypt, with togas, drapes, and high priestess styles adorning her runways. But at Thursday’s show she turned the dial for a very personal take on a silhouette like this one.

“Lying in the dirt along the Valley of the Kings was an approach I loved,” he said.

Like the tall stone carvings on the ancient temple, the silhouettes were elongated by layering fabrics to let down the central part. The dark flared pants were so long that clothes were clinging to the stone stairs as models walked down the Palais de Tokyo venue. It created a funky surreal effect.

“Extreme shoulders” — voluminous and rounded — created this Egyptian priestly vibe, tailored by the American fashion master in silk chiffon, crisp cotton, and garish plaid.

AMI

French designer Alexandre Matias continued his interest in using A-list French actresses as model-mouse in Thursday evening’s co-ed show, which harkens back to the ’80s.

This spring season, an explosion of celebrity pizzazz came from “Amélie” and “Da Vinci Code” star Audrey Tautou, who started the proceedings in a fresh oversize ecru trench and hot cropped white jeans.

The rest of the show was defined by typical AMI fare with salable looks, such as ’80s suit jackets and knee-high stripper boots.

Checks – argyle, gingham tartan styles – mixed with straps – Breton, pin and sporty – to generate a light twist on Mattiucci’s braid-and-butter styles.

Whereas, plus size models were a welcome addition to the Paris runways, adding to the sense of inclusion.

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