What do you want from a bag, seemed to ask the new Artistic Director of Louis Vuitton menswear Virgil Abloh at his first collection in Paris. Somehow, this man has just elevated bags and created a whole new accessories category – a kind of new “super-bag”. The huge selection of sports bags and luggage, backpacks and bum bags fused the nouse and craft of the now 4,000 Louis Vuitton staff, working in 16 leather workshops across France, with Abloh’s understanding of the “E-ther”. That all-important online out-there, which, feeds incessantly on the buzz and hype of the very new. He understands, too, the ability of his new super-bags to telegraph power and luxury, good taste and achievement. This is what men want. It’s the same thing as buying a beautiful car or expensive watch. It’s a “Look! I’ve made it”. The clothes too were a mix of just about everything a modern man wears at the moment: the hoody, a wide trouser, a lightweight super-easy suit, some seriously good techy outerwear, a statement summer shirt with short sleeves. The Wizard of Oz poppy-field-print sweatshirt was a touch of fun. And fluoro too! Would you? Maybe one of the bags or one of the LV monogrammed bags with fluoro chain you could – it’s dead easy. Abloh set his bright yellow flouro tops against camel – it works – and an easy way into next summer. The tailoring was exceptional. Friends have seen this up-close and talk of the cloths, always, as “super fine” but also praise Abloh’s understanding, and of course, the studio’s appreciation of, a wider and more modern suit line. The more formal cut will still be available, we hear, but this more relaxed cut is something Abloh has made his own. It’s also what the new LV customer wants. There’s no doubt his appointment will bring with it a new wave of customers, who currently shop with him at the other line he designs, Off-White. He gets this guy, knows what he wants; shops like him, has the same arc of reference. He is that man. Virgil Abloh is his own best customer.
by Richard Gray
Photographs by Jason Lloyd-Evans