Virgil & Louis Vuitton Celebrate Black Excellence in Shanghai

Louis Vuitton took it’s show on the road and opened with a bang in Shanghai. Virgil Abloh’s Spring Summer 2021 collection arrived at the docks of Shanghai and the animated stowaways came to life, with a highlight performance by the iconic Lauryn Hill.

By taking his show to sea,Virgil Abloh embraces the global community of Louis Vuitton and meets his clients in their own parts of the world. Throughout its voyage – which may add destinations along the way –
the collection will transform in an evolving exchange across cultures and nations. It is a free and inclusive dialogue between the house and its
audiences, which transcends the traditional rules of fashion and seasonality.

Virgil & Louis Vuitton Celebrate Black Excellence in Shanghai

Titled ‘Message in a Bottle’, the Louis Vuitton Spring-Summer 2021
Men’s collection is presented in a voyage of international events
from Paris to Shanghai and Tokyo. Unveiled gradually in chapters
which started in July through the end of 2020, the format demonstrates
Men’s Artistic Director Virgil Abloh’s core values of diversity,
inclusivity and unity. The collection additionally proposes
a multi-faceted upcycling initiative across his creative platforms.

Louis Vuitton Men’s collection by Virgil Abloh Spring-Summer 2021 ‘Upcycling Ideology’ Paris, August 2020.

Upcycled looks in the Spring-Summer 2021 collection
are divided into four categories:
A. Pieces upcycled by recycling material from overstock.
B. Pieces upcycled from recycled ideas.
C. Pieces upcycled through reiteration from the previous
D. Pieces upcycled as part of the “Homework” initiative.

Upcycling creates the framework for the Louis Vuitton Spring-Summer 2021
collection. Presented through the childlike grammar of fantasy, Men’s Artistic Director Virgil Abloh seeks to de-programme our minds from the images of obsolescence that lead to overload, overproduction and waste. Assuming a child’s perspective, he imagines what the world looks like without inherited social preference. In a new reality where the value of material objects isn’t classified by preconceived ideas of “rich” and “poor”, worth is defined by emotional value. Applying his fantasy to fashion, Virgil Abloh introduces the Upcycling Ideology for Louis Vuitton. From this point onwards, work can be recycled, upcycled, and even reissued in its original form.

When the Louis Vuitton voyage set sails from Shanghai, the rambunctious stowaways known as Zoooom with friends travelled in tow. Now, the crazy characters disembark in Tokyo, stirring up their hypnotising parade of inclusivity and unity. Modelled by the local humanity of the port of call, the collection celebrates multiculturalism and the memory of a historic crosscultural exchange. In the 1960s, a musical dialogue between Jamaica
and subcultural England manifested in the entrancing genre of ska, eventually evolving into two-tone and ska punk. Uniting people of
diverse backgrounds, it demonstrated the mind-bending powers of
music and wove a wardrobe suspended between Jamaican dress and
subcultural interpretations of British tailoring.

In its hereditary tapestry were Pan-African genetics partly rooted in the Kente cloth of the Ashanti Kingdom of Ghana, the birthplace of Virgil Abloh’s parents. On his Spring-Summer 2021 runway, the influences come alive in a conversation between ancestral and urban tribes, boyhood memories and progress. The transition is 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.
Afrofuturism: the study of black identities in connection with
technology, retro-futurism and futurism, which proposes concepts of de-alienation, escapism and peace.

Edited by Arrnott Olssen