PFWM AW19: Louis Vuitton

THE King of Pop reigned supreme at Virgil Abloh’s AW19 Louis Vuitton show at PFWM. Spectators— including Timothée Chalamet, Naomi Campbell, Frank Ocean and Skepta to name a few — were transported back to 1983, as the Tuileries garden was transformed into a theatrical reincarnation of the Manhattan street of Michael Jackson’s iconic Bille Jean music video. Thick smog hung heavy around the room and leaves rustled along the catwalk as the models walked in a chaotic — yet thoughtfully choreographed — scene of crossing paths, filling the theatrically charged catwalk-sidewalk with Abloh’s AW19 collection.

The billowing smog revealed garments to satisfy every Louis Vuitton consumer. Grey dominates the opening, with tailored suits trousers and jackets worn oversized, a nod no doubt to the styling of the ‘80s. A pair of sparkling gloves adorn the hands of the third model, the first Jackson reference of many throughout the collection. Classic trench coats accompany bulky puffer jackets embossed with the iconic LV monogram, both fine tailoring and streetwear walking amongst one another in greyscale harmony.

Accents of colour begin to appear in the form of majestic purple, as a figure draped in the colour — reminiscent of a young Jackson himself — half-walks, half-dances down the runway. Bold longline silver metallic coats and followed closely by sparkling jumpers and silken ensembles crafted from charming illustrated maps of Paris.

Colour than transposes to the accessories, as bold travel bags make their way down the runway. First in striking cyan blue, before interchanging with neon yellows and pinks. These fun and playful accents are accompanied by beige garments reminiscent of the grey items from the show’s unfolding, proving them to be distinctly wearable.

Maps are followed by flags, as the iconic American stars and stripes begin to make their appearance on both skirts, fur coats and neck scarves in muted colours. A glittering jumper featuring the words Human Nature embroidered on its back made its way down the runway, paving the way for a series of looks featuring flags of the world in amazing technicolour.

It soon becomes clear that this show is more than just a homage to the work of Michael Jackson. His message was always one of inclusivity, with his art “accessible to all”. Jackson elevated the most simple item, a glove, to be recognised across the globe as a symbol of his unparalleled creativity and talent. His influence on music, fashion and society is still felt today, almost a decade after his passing.

Abloh’s AW19 collection brings people together. His collection allowed streetwear to walk alongside high fashion with awareness and respect. Glow-in-the-dark travel cases existed in harmony alongside those made from the house’s iconic chocolate leather. By creating acceptance and inclusivity on the runway, Abloh is subtly paving the way for these themes to transpire outside of his AW19 collection, outside of PFWM and into contemporary society.

A rendition of Jackson’s famous Wanna be Startin’ Somethin’ echoed throughout the finalé and as Abloh took his bow, it could not have felt more fitting. He really is starting something.

by Lucy May McCracken

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