Over the Rainbow: Virgil Abloh Makes His Louis Vuitton Debut

The highly-anticipated debut collection by red-hot American designer Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton debuted today at Paris Fashion Week, marking the historic premiere of the first black artistic director in the brand’s 164 years.

As GQ commented, “The designer/DJ/collaborator/do-it-all has been given the reigns of one-half of a multi-billion dollar fashion brand and the chance to prove himself as more than just the pied piper of streetwear. And in Abloh, Vuitton has a cool-kid approved weapon to combat the every-changing (and increasingly fickle) fashion and retail landscapes.”

The “color as metaphor” theme for the Men’s Spring-Summer 2019 Collection was a direct statement on diversity by Abloh, whose diverse models included rapper Kid Cudi.

The inspirational show—which invited the audience to wear colored t-shirts to tie into whatever color of the runway spectrum they were in—was a direct statement on diversity by Abloh, who has been breaking color barriers throughout his career and still helms the Off-White label that helped put him on the map. He was choked up as he took a bow, in addition to feeling (no doubt) over the rainbow

In an Instagram post Abloh explained the inclusive concept for his Louis Vuitton debut: “essential to my show concept is a global view on diversity linked to the travel dna of the brand. the studio creates these show notes. we created this world diagram on the seats that shows models birthplace, and the birthplace of their parents. issue #1 also located on each seat. my dictionary of terms included as well.”

Throwing his first LV shoe in the air before the show recalled the shoe-throwing melee that ensued when he spoke at his alma mater, Harvard’s Graduate School of Design, last year.

VIPs in the front row included Kanye West — Abloh’s fellow Chicagoan, BFF and mentor, who wore a sweatshirt stating “I am loving awareness” as he hugged Abloh on the rainbow carpet.

The collection was a rainbow of colors, with porcelain chains in rap references, along with more monochromatic looks. The first person to be seen wearing the collection was Rihanna, who wore a white jumpsuit and military-style belted bag.

Louis Vuitton x Virgil Abloh SS19 mens RTW debut 21 June 2019Louis Vuitton SS19 Virgil Abloh debut

He’s also trying to up-end the way that fashion collections are celebrated:

A behind-the-scenes look at the collection’s development that was shared on IGTV, Instagram’s new longform video platform:

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