They Are the World at Louis Vuitton

The fashion world changed today, with Virgil Abloh’s first collection as Artistic Director of Menswear at Louis Vuitton. All eyes were on him, as many were still coming to terms with his shock appointment. And he knocked it out of the park.

The venue was the same as it has been for a while, the Palais Royale gardens, but that was the only similarity. Behind the rows were several thousand students who had been invited specially for the show; all wearing color-blocked Louis Vuitton rainbow gradient T-shirts, mimicking the impossibly long rainbow runway. Virgil was letting the fans in on the whole thing, and committing to his promise that he made in a preview on this morning before the show: “I want a young generation to come in and know, hey, there’s someone here who’s listening, and speaking back to them.”

The students were delighted to be there, and it was refreshing to see so many grateful smiling faces at a fashion show. In fact. It was such a positive celebration of achievement, and a positive view for the future. The casting was incredibly varied, and a world map was included on the seat showing where the models and their parents came from, titled We Are The World — a neat way of touching on Vuitton’s travel heritage, while presenting one of the most diverse and interesting casts we’ve seen.

The show notes, The Vocabulary According to Virgil Abloh, served as a glossary of terms, opening with “Accesomorphosis – A portmanteau describing the transformation of an accessory into a garment, effectively evolving its functional form.” It was a brilliant idea, and such a simple one: LVMH is famed for its accessories and bags, so evolve the clothing into accessories and bags. Jackets, shirts, and tops had 3-dimensional pockets so large they could hold everything a bag could. An age-old menswear dilemma solved.

One of the most touching moments of the show came when Abloh walked out at the finale to an instrumental version of Ghost Town from his mentor Kanye West’s last album, giving a thumbs up before walking up to where he was seated with Kim and breaking into tears. The two held each other good and long, reveling in the moment. And what an important moment it was.