The House enters into a kaleidoscope of illusion for its Men’s Fall/Winter 2023 collection.

Culture-wise, Newton’s Third Law no longer applies. The mellowed physics of cyclical collections, market structures and consumer needs have been rudely upended by greater forces, which leaves a Maison as soulful and precise as Louis Vuitton entirely reshaping its style practice, a long-sought pursuit since the passing of former menswear Artistic Director, Virgil Abloh. The house’s ideals of luxe ease came at the crossroads of community and sportiness. Knits on knits. Tops on tops.

Designing Fall 2023, the studio team kept coming back to a trope by the ever-pragmatic edge: emphasising both sartorial pyrotechnics—the trompe l’oeil bags, the three-dimensional detailing, the solidified leather—it undercut some of the naive charm that has animated past collections. Here, Fall was about community and communal thinking, delivering a range of voluminous and desirable offerings that were sweetened with shades of buttercup yellow, melange, and petal pink, grounded with neutrals such as beige and black. “Connected by their shared experiences, spanning from the ordinary to the life-changing, the Louis Vuitton Studio Prêt-à-Porter Homme detects in the formative premise of the collection the adolescent feeling of craving, or at times having, to grow up fast,” denotes the release. This idea evolves in out-of-focus screen shots blazoned all over garments, coupled with the figurative notion echoed in gene rationally relatable written-word sentiments such as ‘blurry vision of a bright future’ and ‘FANTASTIC IMAGINATION?_’

In conceptual terms, they’re quietly powerful statements: Because in the age of diffusion lines and fast-fashion partnerships, where designers and brands are a blend that’s increasingly commonplace, people like Abloh were a breath of fresh air that continued questioning modernity through the eye of traditional craft.

By drawing on certain everyday style references and the highly anticipated collaboration with Kidsuper’s Colm Dillane, the house’s first designer to co-design the menswear collection post-Abloh—singer Rosalia set the soundtrack and crashed the stage, for an eclectic presentation of garments whose practicality felt invariably easy. Against highly technical fabrics, Louis Vuitton’s silhouettes were contemporary, utterly, but the soul of this collection bared something only found in functionalwear-sourced-ready to wear: a stylised streetwear aura. It’s a note that is further accentuated in the oversize layering of tees on top of crisp button downs, while painting boxy coats with structured lapeled blazers.

Take it apart, though, and what Louis Vuitton served up was a lineup of not-quite-basic basics. Some of the clothes were quite beautiful: The suiting managed to run through a masculine and feminine thread, inspiring a fluid morphology that added technically challenging elements to the lineup, which featured the likes of coat-within-a-coat. Put simply, it’s a single coat constructed with integrated overlays that create the effect of a double one. The point is that, for the most part, the clothes looked winsomely easy to wear: soft and poised, and when presented with a sharper trim they gained confidence and pushed tailoring forward. This time, however, balance and elegance had been solidified into menswear territory while reading as a work in progress, providing a welcome alternative to a house that looks to be on a hopeful—and resolutely progressive—track.

Chidozie Obasi

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