While the rest of the world begins winding down, fashion designer Virgil Abloh continues to deliver as he shares the lookbook for his Louis Vuitton (PARIS:MC.PA +0.77%) Pré-Fall 2021 collection.
Following the second installment of the French Maison’s LV2054 lifstyle line earlier this month, the artist director now showcases an upcoming collection in which he focuses on the new normal. Exploring the mundane dress codes of an establishment in evolution, Abloh studies the luxury of normalcy and what conforming to a new state of being normal means post-2020.
Tailoring arrives in boxy silhouettes, with suits doused in tie-dye galaxy monogram prints, a caban restructured with an asymmetrical monogram leather panel and a peacoat embossed with a reworked brand logo along the sleeves.
Suits have also been paired with hoodies, zipped jackets and denim, while evening wear is also featured through mid-layers. On a more casual note, blousons, cardigans and shirts arrive in a Damier salt print that boasts a faded and distorted brand motif. A beautiful collection, but sadly each progressive collection / lookbook feels more and more like an ‘Off White’ release with LV monograms, instead of the wardrobe of a chic French fashion house.
The job of artistic designer at Fendi has finally been filled. The storied Roman fashion house and fur specialist announced on Wednesday that the British fashion designer Kim Jones would replace Karl Lagerfeld, who died in February of last year, in the role.
Mr. Jones will be responsible for the haute couture, ready-to-wear and fur collections for women, Fendi said in a statement. He will also maintain his current position as artistic director of Dior Men in Paris. It is the second major designer move by Fendi’s owner, LVMH Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, the world’s largest luxury group by sales, since the coronavirus pandemic began, – the French company appointed Matthew Williams as Givenchy’s new designer in June.
As such, it reflects the luxury group’s commitment to forging ahead with its brands and buzzy designers, even as questions swirl around the future of fashion, shopping and the entire traditional show system. In a statement, LVMH’s chief executive, Bernard Arnault, called Mr. Jones ‘a great talent’, adding that he had proved his ability to adapt to the codes of assorted LVMH Maison’s ‘with great modernity and audacity’.
The hire represents a doubling down on a bet by LVMH that fur will continue to be a hallmark of luxury, at a time when it is increasingly being seen as an unethical relic of another era. And as the industry faces a reckoning on race and diversity, the hiring of a white man already in its employ at Dior for one of the most plum design titles in the business also could be seen as going against the trend of confronting fashion’s systemic racism, and LVMH’s stated commitments to tackling that.
The choice of Mr. Jones is the culmination of more than a year of discussions and apparent soul-searching by LVMH, which built Fendi into a billion-dollar brand. Fendi has been a core pillar of its fashion empire since it purchased an initial stake in the company from the Fendi family in a joint venture with Prada in 1999 (in 2001, LVMH became the brand’s sole owner).
Along with Silvia Venturini Fendi, the only family member still in the company, who will continue to design Fendi accessories and men’s wear once Mr. Jones arrives, Mr. Lagerfeld was integral to that growth. Over a 54-year tenure at Fendi, Mr. Lagerfeld created the concept of ‘fun fur’ when fur was seen as the stale province of the bourgeoisie. He held ‘haute fourrure’ shows on the couture calendar even as fur increasingly fell out of fashion. He and Ms. Fendi appeared on the catwalk together at the end of every women’s wear show.
Though it was often suggested that Ms. Fendi, who referred to Mr. Lagerfeld as a mentor, might assume sole creative ownership of the brand after his death, executives at LVMH were open about their belief in the benefit of two creative personalities sparking off each other. Along with Mr. Jones, another name thought to be in the running for the position was Maria Grazia Chiuri, artistic director of women’s wear at Dior.
Designer pairings can be a risk, given the egos that are sometimes involved. But along with Miuccia Prada’s recent decision to name Raf Simons as co-creative director of Prada, pairing Mr. Jones and Ms. Fendi may also signal a new approach to team-building in fashion. A fetishisation of the single visionary has more often been the norm, and several high-profile talents like Mr. Jones and Virgil Abloh have increasingly juggled multiple design responsibilities across top fashion houses. Fendi’s chief executive, Serge Brunschwig, called Mr. Jones “one of the most talented and relevant designers of today”.
I would like to profoundly thank Mr. Arnault, Mr. Brunschwig and Silvia Venturini Fendi for this incredible opportunity. Working across two such prestigious houses is a true honour as a designer and to be able to join the house of Fendi as well as continuing my work at Dior Men’s is a huge privilege.
After graduating from the London art-and-design school Central Saint Martins and one of the brightest stars on the luxury men’s wear scene, the London designer worked for several brands, from Iceberg to Mulberry. And while he’s best known for designing menswear for Louis Vuitton, Dior and his own brand, he’s scored many a female fan (including close friends Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell, Victoria Beckham and the Karadashians-Jenner). In fact, when he joined Dior Hommes, in 2018, there were rumours that he was going to lead all of the collections for the Parisian fashion house, including womenswear.
Before joining Dior Men he worked at Louis Vuitton as their men’s wear designer for seven years. At Vuitton, he brought his longstanding love and encyclopedic knowledge of luxe streetwear – athletic tech fabrics, big sneakers, oversize graphic T-shirts and elegant tracksuits, but also crocodile backpacks and cashmere baseball tops – to a superbrand that had been overly content to sell its male clientele little more than monogrammed leather cases, belts and wallets.
More recently, at Dior, his shows merging suiting with streetwear and reworking tailoring for a modern audience generated buzz beyond the men’s market. They have shown Mr. Jones to be more plugged in to the outside world than some of his industry peers.
In July, for example, a week after the brand was criticised for casting an all-white ensemble of models for its women’s wear couture presentation as Black Lives Matter protest raged worldwide, Mr. Jones featured only models of color in his spring 2021 collection. It was designed in collaboration with the acclaimed Ghanaian portait painter Amoako Boafo. In December, Mr. Jones was named designer of the year at the Fashion Awards in London.
He will be expected to bring some of that magic to Fendi. The brand has seen robust growth in recent years, fueled by its savvy leather accessories, fur designs and a burgeoning fan base in China and Southeast Asia.
“I look forward to taking the Fendi universe to the next level with Kim”, Ms. Fendi said. Though Fendi is planning to hold a physical show – for fall-winter 2021/22 – on Sept. 23 in front of a reduced audience during Milan Fashion Week, Mr. Jones’s debut collection is planned for February, the company said. We can’t wait. Come into the beautiful world of Fendi.
Earlier this year, French Maison Givenchy and Clare Waight Keller announced the end of their three-year partnership and since then, we’ve been wondering who would fill up the Creative Director post. Now it’s official! Givenchy’s seventh couturier has been named…
Just moments ago, the iconic French Maison has announced Matthew M. Williams as the new Creative Director via Instagram, sharing a brief message from the newly appointed American designer.
When you’re a follower of menswear, or a fan of ‘hardware’, like fancy buckles, you may have heard of him. He’s a 34-year-old self-taught California native who got his start in music, designing for Kanye West and later Lady Gaga.
In 2010, he founded the Been Trill collective along with Heron Preston and Virgil Abloh, and in 2015, he started his own label, 1017 ALYX 9SM (known more simply as Alyx – ah-LEEX – after his older daughter). It began with womenswear but has grown to become one of the most exciting labels to show during Paris Fashion Week: Men’s.
I am extremely honoured to join the House of Givenchy. The Maison’s unique position and timeless aura make it an undeniable icon and I am looking forward to working together with its ateliers and teams, to move it into a new era based on modernity and inclusivity.
Matthew M. Williams
Williams has also recently collaborated with Moncler Genius and with his friend Kim Jones at Dior Men, but this is his first time at the helm of an LVMH-owned brand. (Alyx was a finalist for the LVMH Prize in 2016, which gives prize money and mentorship to emerging labels that submit and compete for its notice – and gives LVMH execs an opportunity to survey the design landscape).
As creative director of Givenchy, Williams will replace designer Clare Waight Keller, who stepped down in April after just two and a half years. The two have very different aesthetics. Waight Keller’s soft, elegant tailoring drew inspiration from Mr. Givenchy himself, and appealed to women like Meghan Markle, who notably wore a gown by the designer to her wedding with Prince Harry.
I am grateful to the LVMH group for trusting me with the opportunity to fulfill my lifelong dream. In these unprecedented times for the world, I want to send a message of hope, together with my community and colleagues, and intend to contribute towards positive change.
Matthew M. Williams
Williams, meanwhile, has a sharper, shinier, more futuristic edge. The large aluminum buckles he puts on just about everything, which resemble those on a parachute harness, were recently named-dropped by Drake in his song ‘Tootsie Slide’. In general, his work is perhaps closer to that of Riccardo Tisci, who was creative director of the brand before Waight Keller, and is now at Burberry.
Like those who came before him, Williams will be responsible for all creative aspects of the brand, including both women’s and men’s design. The designer is set to present his first collection for Givenchy in October in Paris. Come into the beautiful world of Givenchy.
For his latest collaborative effort, Virgil Abloh pairs Off-White with French swimwear brand Vilebrequin. Together the two offer five new swimsuit styles for Summer 2019.
Fashion designer Virgil Abloh’s label Off-White has always been known for its streetwear-focused pieces (hoodies, oversized T-shirts, sweatshirts and the like), but it has also dabbled in beachwear recently, albeit a relatively small selection seen in its Spring-Summer 2019 line-up for men. To expand the selection further and provide even more options for all, they have decided to team up with renowned swimwear brand Vilebrequin for a 5-piece capsule collection.
Vilebrequin, the French swimwear label is known for its luxurious trunks, cut to be both comfortable and flattering; here, they’re utilized by Off-White as a canvas upon which to express Abloh’s signature visual style.
The collection comes in colours and prints that’s very much in line with Off-White’s brand identity. Take the Moorise Arrows for example, which features the signature arrow logo, coming in either a Black or White version, while the Towel Diagonal comes with black and white stripes all over for a cool touch.
But if you prefer a pop of colour, go for the Moorise ‘Off’ Chartreuse which comes in a bright neon yellow, or opt for a chic floral print as seen in the Moorise All Over Flowers. Each swimsuit features an elasticated waistband, a zippered back pocket, a paperclip zipper pull, and co-branded tags.
The Off-White and Vilebrequin’s Summer 2019 collection will be officially launched worldwide on 13 June 2019, and will be available at all Off-White stores and selected Vilebrequin stores.
French Maison Louis Vuitton has appointed Virgil Abloh as its first African-American artistic director of menswear. The 37-year-old creative director of luxe streetwear brand of logo-led aesthetic, Off-White, nowsucceeds Kim Jones, and will be staging his first collection for the French fashion house this June during men’s fashion week in Paris.
Aa a first-generation Ghanaian-American, the Illinois native and multi-hyphenate, has been socially crowned in the streetwear scene as one of the biggest purveyors of cool, despite lacking a traditional fashion background.
It is an honor for me to accept the position of Men’s Artistic Director for Louis Vuitton. I find the heritage and creative integrity of the House are key inspirations and will look to reference them both while drawing parallels to modern times.
Although the celebrity DJ’s name has been highlighted as a prime candidate for the top spot that has been vacant since January, fans of Kanye West’s protege were in a state of frenzy and delight via various social media announcements as Abloh assumed his position at luxury stalwart Vuitton,
Having followed with great interest Virgil’s ascent since he worked with me at Fendi in 2006, I am thrilled to see how his innate creativity and disruptive approach have made him so relevant, not just in the world of fashion but in popular culture today. His sensibility towards luxury and savoir-faire will be instrumental in taking Louis Vuitton’s menswear into the future.
Michael Burke, Louis Vuitton’s Chairman & CEO.
There is no doubt that Abloh will bring on his unique slant towards a new, fresh era at the iconic French label. After all, it is his successful collaborations that have wooed Louis Vuitton to ride on his momentum, leading him to hold the highly-regarded position in fashion.