LVMH’s men of the hour solidified the rise of streetwear luxe during the S/S19 Paris Men’s Fashion Week. Both newly appointed creative directors Virgil Abloh for Louis Vuitton and his personal mentor Kim Jones for Dior Homme showcased a collection that fully integrates both worlds.
Prior to Jones’ move, he had already successfully produced collaborations with streetwear brands such as Supreme x Louis Vuitton. The positive response for the fashion designer and heritage brand immediately increased. Thus, LVMH had the potential to delve deeper into this untapped territory, at least for luxury.
Early 2018, LVMH announced yet another reshuffling of creative directors within the men’s category. Kim Jones was set to succeed Kris Van Assche for Dior Homme. I thank the fashion gods for this decision. In the farewell show of Kris Van Assche for, I felt a certain disconnect and disappointment with the creative direction or therefore the lack of it. The stereotypical powerhouse suits that graced the runway looked overwhelmingly lazy. It did, however, give Kim Jones a clean slate to simply create. And must I just laud this guy for proving himself, not that he has anything to prove, to be called one of the most respected and revered designers of this generation. It was as if Dior was brought back to life through texture and color – far from the more subtle and monochromatic collections of his predecessors. Kim Jones features more daring key pieces such as sheer, floral and kimono inspired garments in bomber jackets, double-breasted suits, and lightly lined trousers. And of course with a mix of streetwear luxury. Dior doesn’t have to be dull and boring despite critics arguing that Jones’ collection is a far outcry from the brand identity. But only a fashion forward-thinking brand will survive the ever-evolving market and that is exactly what Jones did.
While Jones prepared for his debut show with Dior, the off-white creator was set to take over his reign at LV Homme. Oh, what big shoes to fill for a newcomer. The announcement startled the industry and everyone went into a complete chaos. Okay, maybe that’s an exaggerated statement, but my fellow fashion peers and I had a long and in-depth debate on his role and representation within the industry plus questioning what it means for luxury to integrate with a designer that did not climb the typical fashion ladder. Not to mention who thrives in “Hypebeast” fashion, the total opposite of the spectrum. But Virgil Abloh’s appointment to one of the world’s most luxurious brands signifies that change is coming and we’re all in it for the long haul.
Stepping foot into Palais Royal for Abloh’s show entitled “We are the World” felt like witnessing history, or at least fashion history. For decades, this dynamic was rejected by the industry and now we are paving a new path and redefining the terms of luxury. His show represented unity in nation, race, gender and in culture. A man who values inclusivity and humility used a powerful platform to share a message. And for the first time in a long time luxury feels as if it has a purpose. When streetwear was frowned upon on, given negative connotations and left out in influential fashion conversations, Abloh made sure to redefine street for what it truly represents, a unity of the community.
And yes, I will be frank in saying that I personally am not a fan of streetwear but I genuinely respect it for what it represents and contributes to art, culture, music, and fashion. But what I truly appreciate about this phenomena is the creativity it brings out to other designers and brands all over the world. It’s pushing luxury out of its comfort zone and allowing brands to adapt and socially listen to their consumers. Maybe this time around luxury won’t be as boring anymore as it was in the last five years.
**Photos are not mine.
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