The Louis Vuitton menswear collection was named ‘Ebonics’ and the collection came with images and fashion film, film directed by Josh Johnson . ‘Ebonics’ a word that means ‘American black English regarded as a language in its own right rather than as a dialect of standard English.’ but why ‘Ebonics’? I guess Virgil Abloh is trying call our attention to history, to #Blacklivesmatter -where the collection will require a radical thinking.
“We’re still reeling,” said Abloh “We sat through so many heavy conversations in 2020, some so heated that things can’t be discussed anymore. But fashion can do this. Shows can do this.”
We hear you Abloh, a sudden outbreak of an unexpected diesease that claimed so many lives, the #blacklivesmatter rally lastyear, got us all emotionally drained and no-one was ready to endure anymore loss of lives. So a good way to speak out loud is through fashion, poet, rap, singing and so much -then that answers my question why ‘Ebonics’?.
The fall’21 menswear collection featured the Louis Vuitton baggage—some of it in the shape of carrier bags, potato sacks, an LV ‘Keepall’ in the form of a plane, skirts, suits, flowing with floor-length coats, easy slim tailoring, African draped wraps, kilts, and Western hats e.t.c.—styled by the deft hand of Ibrahim Kamara. These designs remind me of ‘Cardillac Records’ where a male figure will suit up with his hat and his cigar. It reminds me of ‘Billy Porter’ on the redcarpet, it also reminds me of Bruno Mars and his style – oh now it’s all making sense – The celebration of Blackness and Sexuality e.t.c.
“There are a lot of stories mixing cultures,” he said. “And from that, a new language will be created.”
This is the sixth collection Virgil Abloh has released since he started as the creative director of Louis Vuitton dated back to 2008, and it’s his best of all the collections. As a black american creative director and his exploration of African heritage through art and fashion reflects in his creativity and the message he sends says ‘An Icon’. In this collection, he united African and European culture by turning a kente an african man would drape around his waist or shoulder when out for a ceremony and a plaid kilt a Gaelic scottish man would wear to a ceremony into a new modern way of styling – a message that says ‘Unity’.
“When I grew up, my father wore Kente cloth, with nothing beneath it, to family weddings, funerals, graduations,” he said. “When he went to an American wedding, he wore a suit. I merged those two together, celebrating my Ghanaian culture.” “A memory of the wax print fabric my mom had around the house when I was growing up,” he chuckled. “She was the one who taught me to sew; and she had learned it with a tailor in Ghana.”
As an African, Virgil Abloh did not neglect his upbring, where from young age, you’re encouraged to start thinking of what you want to be when you grow up. This upbring reflects in his work where Abloh would research, and use litereature to buttress his points/vision behind his collection e.g.“Fashion has the power to de-program these dress codes and impact possibilities.” Abloh said “I start from the wonderment of boys. When you’re a boy there’s one thing that adults ask you: What do you want to be when you grow up? And you say artist, lawyer, doctor, football player, fighter pilot. But then, if I ask what does a doctor look like? There’s a knee-jerk. That’s where we can learn.”
His slogan ‘ Tourist Vs Purist’, a word that decribes him as an african man in an european world full of knowledge and aspiration. “It’s my organizing principle for my point of view when I make things. A tourist is someone who’s eager to learn, who wants to see the Eiffel Tower when they come to Paris. The purist is the person who knows everything about everything.” said Abloh.The slogan which was also reflected in his designs, a man wearing the city and its landmarks which of course represent a tourist and a man all suited up with newspaper in his hand represents the purist.
Virgil Abloh is known to be a man who is now an icon. An Icon who has created a platform for young and emerging artist to climb, a platform that had been shut down due to racism – he says: “I have a responsibility. We said we want diversity, didn’t we say that in 2020? Making change means making these changes. I don’t want to look back and say I turned a blind eye. But you know,” he concludes, “I’m an optimist. The future is yet to be decided.”
Overall the collection is beautiful, the new trends like the floor sweeping coats, blazers with exergerated rose brooch, suit skirts e.t.c. is what we should look out for on our favourite celebrities and red carpets. If you ask me the name to give this collection, I will call it ‘Western African’,
Here is the full collection below:
By Lola Joseph
Images: Coutesy of Louis Vuitton
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