When Virgil Abloh was appointed as artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear line in 2018, it immediately sent shockwaves through the fashion industry.
Already well-known for his postmodern approaches to art and streetwear through his labels Off-White and Pyrex Vision; creative collaborations with IKEA and Kanye West; and immensely popular footwear collection with Nike, Abloh has almost single-handedly changed the popular conception of streetwear, fashion and design.
Abloh’s relentlessly innovative drive has led Louis Vuitton to announce one of the most exciting one-off collections the storied grand couturier has ever devised: a three-way collaboration between the French fashion juggernaut, Abloh and Japanese streetwear legend Nigo.
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You might not have heard of Nigo before, but you’ve almost certainly heard of his brands. One of the progenitors of modern streetwear, the Japanese native founded the iconic clothing brand A Bathing Ape (BAPE), as well as other pioneering brands Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream with Pharrell Williams. In 2014, Nigo also became the creative director for Uniqlo’s high concept UT sub-brand and founded another brand, Human Made, a luxury workwear brand.
Nigo, LV and Abloh’s collection, LV2 – ‘Louis Vuitton squared’ – is an eclectic blend of the three fashion giant’s unique aesthetics and branding. It’s a motley melting pot of LV’s classic motifs and luxury materials, Abloh’s iconoclastic streetwear sensibilities, and Human Made’s quaint Americana.
Such a wild collection might seem unprecedented for a luxury stalwart like LV, but it’s not as unexpected as you might expect. LV in recent years has shown a huge appetite for creative experimentation, notably collaborating with New York skate brand (and catnip for hypebeasts) Supreme under previous menswear director Kim Jones.
Abloh and Nigo’s relationships with the who’s who of modern pop culture – musicians like Kanye and Pharrell, fashion insiders like Anna Wintour, Jun Takahashi and Don C, and artists like Takashi Murakami – mean that they have their fingers on the pulse more than anyone else in the industry. For the two ‘millennial Lagerfelds’ to join forces under LV’s roof seems like a natural step.
That a collection exists speaks volumes about the state of current men’s fashion. The lines between haute couture and streetwear have been completely blurred. Fashion brands are shaking off their old conservatism and embracing the modes of the 21st century – multicultural, global, irreverent and above all, unafraid.
Fresh in Australia, the capsule collection includes ready-to-wear, leather goods, shoes and accessories. It’ll fly off shelves, so get amongst it ASAP.