Fashion

Ditch the normcore windcheater, Louis Vuitton 2054 is in town

GQ gets an exclusive first look at Virgil Abloh’s new function-focused capsule collection, designed expressly to get you through the (helicopter) commute in style

Virgil Abloh, the Illinois-born artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton has achieved an extraordinary amount in his three short seasons at the Parisian brand. Not only has the designer continued Kim Jones’ streetwear-focused legacy by imbuing the label’s collections with an entirely youth-focused, hypebeast-friendly aesthetic (think tie-dye leather track pants, oversized puffer jackets and a host of “accessamorphasis” pieces that allow luggage to be worn rather than carried), but he’s also helped to redefine the meaning of “luxury” at this strange, turbulent juncture of the 21st century.

Abloh – by way of the ultra-diverse casting in his seasonal shows, his determined outreach to the youth demographic with his “boy-to-man” themed advertising campaigns and his focus on supporting young talent by mentoring new designers, such as A-Cold-Wall*’s Samuel Ross – is single-handedly spreading a message of hope and positivity not often found in the industry, and the whole thing couldn’t feel more modern.

Now, for AW19, Abloh has unveiled the latest part of his vision for the French maison: Louis Vuitton 2054. Described by the brand as a “performance-inspired tech line”, the collection, which will be released exclusively in Louis Vuitton’s boutiques this month, breaks even further away from traditional luxury codes by aiming at the world’s cool kids as much as its savvy commuters.

Consisting of 14 fully water-repellent pieces, it’s a collection that works hard and looks good. It includes an oversized puffer, a military parka, parachute trousers and a padded overshirt, but it’s the accessories that are the stars (it’s Vuitton, after all). From an oversized holdall that rolls out into a sleeping bag – appropriately titled the “Sleepall” – to a pair of safety goggle style sunglasses, not to mention the bucket hat that can be cleverly packed into itself, this new collection is a step in a hypermodern direction for Louis Vuitton (and one that further affirms Abloh’s unquenchable thirst for disruption).

Here’s what the designer had to say about his latest foray into the future of LV menswear.

GQ: So, Virgil, in your own words, what is Louis Vuitton 2054?

Virgil Abloh: “Louis Vuitton 2054 is our definition of the luxury lifestyle corner of fashion. It’s the idea that fashion speaks to different segments of clients and while the main collection sets the overall tone for the Louis Vuitton men’s platform, audiences tune in on distinct frequencies. This line is a response to a demand for a high-fashion proposal that fuses the properties of performance-oriented, technical activewear with everyday essentials: predominantly nylon-based garments native to the great outdoors, tweaked and elevated into the luxury summit of fashion.”

Why did you decide to call the line Louis Vuitton 2054? What’s the significance of the number?

“Any kind of research begins with understanding what happened in the past. Only when you comprehend the past can you bring something into the present. It’s taking that idea one step further and bringing this line into the future: 2054, the 200-year anniversary of Louis Vuitton, which was founded in 1854. What does Louis Vuitton look like in 2054? What are the lifestyle demands the house will be responding to in the future? How will our collective approach to dressing have evolved? Performance, transformability and versatility seemed like a credible proposal.”

What made you decide to draw on the activewear arena for this collection?

“It’s an interest in fashion that can have a relationship to the world around it. We live in a time of increasing awareness – of both ourselves and our surroundings – when businessmen from Paris become weekend warriors in Gstaad and everyone is testing their own limits. In the process, we are creating a heightened level of expectation for everything we do, including what we wear. We expect design to perform, to serve a purpose beyond the obvious. Cloaking yourself in a coat that transforms into a tent, or an overshirt that compresses into a pillow for that tent, is simply the extreme, quite imaginative response to that mentality.”

Why did you choose to launch Louis Vuitton 2054 as a stand-alone collection?

“We launched Staples Edition, another off shoot line, as part of Pre-Fall 2019. The idea behind that collection is to hone the essential garments and accessories that create the foundation for our wardrobe. Louis Vuitton 2054 feels like a natural continuation of that idea: to build an infrastructure within the house that covers all areas of our contemporary way of dressing.”

louisvuitton.com

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