Stop and smell the roses seems to be a current motifs this season for Virgil Abloh. The 2020 Louis Vuitton Men’s Collection took place on Place Dauphine, a routine stroll across Pond Neuf from the Louis Vuitton headquarters, a postcard scenery quite often overlooked. Abloh’s original plan was to stage the show in front of Notre-Dame Cathedral, but unfortunately we are all aware of the reasons it didn’t work out. “When the spire fell, I was struck with this idea of celebrating what’s here while we’re here. You might walk by the Louvre every day, you might walk by Notre-Dame, you might walk by the Eiffel Tower and be like, I’m too busy to go see this, but when it’s gone, you’re emotionally struck by this,” he said in a preview.
The show is surrounded by the remarkable Parisian architecture we couldn’t live without. The mundanity of everyday café life, walks across the Seine, crêpe stands, and tree-lined square ambience harmonises with the typical idea of boyhood bliss: a bouncy castle, ice cream, balloons, and kite-flying. It’s a tale of and growing up and in love with Paris.
Flowers are a central theme in the collection; trivial motifs of nature, a staple element in fashion, are observed as a metaphor for diversity and evolution. They reflect the natural harmony and the peace of mind, they stand in juxtaposition with the rationality and functionality of the urbanist development. In the cityscape, flowers blend into a horizon of unsung heroes: the magnificent buildings, bridges and pavements to which we grow accustomed and partially blind. Seen in new light, or wrapped in different packaging, they emerge in newfound splendour.
The outfits reflects this modern romanticist approach: pastel colours, gender fluid silhouettes and feminine fabrics such as chiffon blouses and floral-printed silk mousseline densely pleated, a technique normally found on haute couture gowns. The tied ropes around everything from fuchsia crocodile hoodies to double-breasted suits are an homage to Christo’s art of wrapping. The exploration of dress codes is even more freed of formal codes, social norms, gender conventions and cultural conduct.