On the second stop of his SS21 tour, Virgil Abloh funnels Ghanaian sculpture, Brit-Jamaican ska and memories of toy shopping into his show.
After the triumphant first Shanghai stop of his SS21 show, next up, Virgil Abloh took us to Tokyo as part of his ongoing “Message in a Bottle” series. And via the runway, Louis Vuitton hosted a vibrant conversation tying together ancestral tribes, boyhood memories, progress and everything in between.
An additional 59 new looks saw Abloh exploring “the unlimited seas of the imagination” and delving into his own personal history to pull out the reimagined essence of the heritage brand that is Louis Vuitton. Memories of toy shopping in Paris with his own children amalgamated into surrealism (nods to Picasso), as well as his own “hereditary tapestry”: think the subculture of Brit-Jamaican ska merged with totems of wooden Ghanaian sculpture.
Similar to Shanghai, grand comic inflatables clung to models with the same boy-like motifs holding steady: teddy bears clutched tenderly, or plush panda softies resting on hips, or multiplied, adorning every surface of the torso.
Throughout the runway it was impossible to miss the references to the early-80s movement of two-tone (the fusion of Jamaican ska music with punk rock) with its checkerboard motif warping tailoring, toys and accessories in a mod flash of brilliance.
The expansive 83-page show notes further detailed: “Abloh believes in the perceptiveness of his audience. In the age of social media, where fiction travels faster than fact, myth often has the benefit of adding gravity to reality… The transition is supported supported by the designer’s upcycling ideology: from memories to materials, the collection recycles and upcycles the past and imbues it with renewed value for the future.”
View more from the collection below…