Past, Present, Future, and Louis: LV 2020 Menswear Review

In the age of the at-home influencer, street-corner stardom, and endless Insta-inspiration, it can become difficult for even the most culturally savvy creatives to grab consumers’ attention.

As we find ourselves desperately searching (or scrolling) for somewhere to look, Virgil Abloh’s creative direction at Louis Vuitton is one of the wunderkinds—offering us something that makes us shut up and pay attention. 

This new something is the Louis Vuitton Spring 2020 menswear collection. At Abloh’s second Paris Fashion Week, spectators were offered an interesting terrain to accompany their fashion junket. This particular show utilized the intimate courtyard of Paris’s Place Dauphine to its advantage. Nestled between classic Paris apartment buildings, the squares created a seemingly secret fashion show, hidden within the metropolis.

And quite intimate the show was, with a casual setting that made the production feel effortless. Spectators were seated at outdoor cafe tables and benches, adding an air of commonality to the ultra-exclusive ordeal.

Abloh cast familiar faces, not only from the pages of magazines but from the sports and music industries as well, like skateboarder Evan Mock and Dev Hynes of Blood Orange. 

The show opened with a model breaking ground with an oversized suit, featuring colors of muted grey, pink and purple. The ensemble was outfitted with electric blue gloves and a matching blue monogrammed duffle bag. These accessories served as a hint to what would ensue: a parade of styles and silhouettes motivated by an impeccable collection of accessories.

The looks that then followed saw a vibrant color palette full of hues of blue, hot pink, in crisp white, grays, purples, and yellow. Playful pastel motifs on spring flowers and garden-bed accessories sprung up repeatedly throughout the collection.

Seamless was the merger of timeless men’s garments and the contemporary, all the while experimenting with a campy take on streetwear. This marriage of eras is best exemplified by look 27: A look reminiscent of a 1930s trench-style vinyl rain slicker. This look was styled with a matching rain hat, classic oversized button down, and trousers.

Certain modifications were made to the garments to ensure their implicit modernity. The clear vinyl raincoat and hat were of a vibrant canary yellow to match the bright yellow of the chest-strapped bag. All three pieces were detailed with strips of monogrammed leather. Not quite ‘le mode’ of 1932.

This is the quintessential ensemble to portray the state of modern men’s fashion. In menswear, some aspects are in indelible: Certain garments, silhouettes, colors, are simply never to be forgotten. They serve as a still acceptable and timeless basis of what men can wear. This is made clear through the trouser and dress-shirt combination, as well as the lanky-yet-structured silhouette offered from the rain jacket.

However, it is not without a modern twist. Now more than ever, current fashion lines, especially in menswear, display some form of adapted contemporary street fashion. Take, for example, the coveted, metal Saddle Bag shown in Dior SS 19, or the sleek sunglasses that accompanied the 60s hippie smocks featured in Loewe SS 20.

This futuristic ethos is omnipresent throughout LV SS 2020, reaching its peak during the two final looks. Both ensembles featured architectural, kite-like structures in a boxy white, and then the classic Louis Vuitton monogrammed leather. Both were styled with a jumble of bags strewn over the chest. 

Finally, the collection held subtle allusions to camp, which has become fashion’s ‘mot-du-jour,’ thanks to the 2019 Met Gala. To incorporate the word in its literal sense, outfits such as looks 48 and 43 were accessorized with oversized camping packs. Models wore garden-bed bunches of grass and flowers as hats and bags. Oh yeah, and a large red bouncy castle adorned with the LV logo was featured in the production. Camp at its finest.

Louis Vuitton’s SS 20 presents the eloquent marriage of past and future and subtle allusions to the present day. Abloh has succeeded in masterfully creating a fluent collection, with each individual piece articulative of an overall coherent collection. With this, he has skillfully created clothing for tomorrow’s man while relying on the style of his predecessors.