This morning in Shanghai, Louis Vuitton presented his Spring / Summer 2021 line, the first concrete presentation of what the luxury fashion house is planning for a new age since Covid-19 updated the market. The spectacle, along with Jacquemus, was notable for being one of the few major fashion houses scheduling a typical fashion show this season.
The new garments, titled “Message in a Bottle,” emerged from shipping containers adorned with inflatable animated characters, in reference to the short film released during the digital fashion week.
The first look – an immaculately tailored beige suit – suggested a traditional idea for Spring / Summer 2021, but as the series proceeded the pieces grew more surreal with a hint of psychedelia in the high-contrast variations of colors and accessories based off the current roster of animated Louis Vuitton characters.
Ambassador of LVMH and former South Korean-Chinese boy band EXO Kris Wu walked the runway in a cream suit followed by a massive inflatable character dangling from his back. There was also a brief interlude with a Lauryn Hill video performance which also mentions that Virgol Abloh and Louis Vuitton made a donation to support Covid-19-affected Black businesses and other hardships.
The eclectic tailoring of the collection included intricate cut-outs, gradient colorways, cloud prints (as seen in FW20), as well as louder, cobalt and sunshine yellow, semi-transparent 3D outerwear and luxurious faux fur coats from the 1970s.
The more surrealist slant of the collection came through with big scorpions, pandas, and flamingos pinned to lapels and accessorized with visor-like sunglasses.
Speaking through video during the series, Abloh states, “what you’ve witnessed today is not another mere fashion show, what you’ve seen is Black imagination manifesting itself in real life, as Lauryn [Hill] mentioned it’s important for us to make sure this opportunity is extended to more Black men and women all around the world, and intently what you’ve witnessed is a sign of more to come.”
It should be noted that the move from Paris to Shanghai may reflect a wider shift from Euro-centric fashion capitals to where the market has proven to grow, despite adverse pandemic conditions.