What exactly is ‘normal’ in fashion? “In broad brushes, you could say a tailored silhouette reminds us of normalcy: getting back to work, back to business, back in shape. The notion of normalcy can seem like a safe haven in the wake of tumultuous times,” says Virgil Abloh.
And in a way, we can say that this is true, a fact that he tries to encapsulate in his latest Pre-fall 21 collection for Louis Vuitton. Departing from cloudscape suits and stuffed- animal garments, Abloh’s newest collection consists of suits, bomber jackets, overcoats, crisp shirts, sweaters and accessories in colours that we can recognise and even find more comfortable.
Yet, each piece carries a unique message that differentiates the Abloh’s definition of normal from the mainstream explanation. An intarsia sweater instructs us to separate fashion from fiction, and a debossed leather jacket offers the sage advice: Don’t let your day job define you. Asymmetrical monogram leather panels lift classic coats, and there are pops of Abloh’s atypicality everywhere else, in tie-dye and in salt-dyed Damier check motifs.
“I’m interested in analyzing the archetypical properties rooted in conformity: The way society programs us into thinking that certain professions and dress codes are synonymous with certain representations of race, gender, and sexual identity or orientation,” he explained. “De-programming those preconceived notions is about promoting the freedom of identity. Post-2020, conformity will hopefully look a lot more open.”
The New Normal, as the show notes reference in their open, is a term that has been bludgeoned into mulch by every section of society, retail and regional news imaginable. In its Pre-Fall 21 collection though, Louis Vuitton isn’t post-facing the word with any reference to Covid-19. This New Normal exists on its own terms, the brand (and the clothes) comfortable in a happy middle ground between the artefacts of the menswear canon, and the new classics of Abloh’s creation. They’re all now everyday things – and there’s plenty beautiful about it.