Louis Vuitton Questions Society’s Perception of Art, People, and Ideas in Fall/Winter 2021 Collection

The collection’s themes are strongly tied to James Baldwin’s essay, “Stranger in the Village”

Louis Vuitton is making its mark at Paris Fashion Week with its Fall Winter 2021 Collection. The garments and the stunning performance art visuals aim to reinvent social archetypes by questioning the prejudice created around a society that keeps dress codes related to certain archetypes. 

Using James Baldwin’s essay, “Stranger in the Village” as the blueprint for the runway presentation, Virgil Abloh curates a storyline incorporating the Artist, the Salesman, the Architect, and the Drifter stereotypes to present his clothing. He then deconstructs the meaning altogether, rearranging our preconceptions of clothing to create new ones. For example, the collection takes the Kente cloth (a fabric and silhouette native to Virgil Abloh’s Ghanaian heritage) and reprints it in tartan, a pattern associated with Scotland. 

This play on illusions is found in the subtle detailing using techniques such as trompe l’oeil and filtrage. Cuban links on a silver-plated briefcase, armbands on fitted suits, an accessory resembling a liferaft on a suit printed with the LV logo, and a giant green flower sewn onto a fur coat — the collection studies our idea of normality, investigating what normal means and looks like, and who has the privilege to look normal.

Courtesy of Louis Vuitton

The collection also includes aphorisms created by Lawrence Weiner, related to the overall themes featured on accessories and jewelry: “YOU CAN TELL A BOOK BY ITS COVER”, “THE SAME PLACE AT THE SAME TIME”, “(SOMEWHERE SOMEHOW )”. Abloh also plays with texture and color, pairing together materials such as fur, leather, and upcycled material to create a look that redefines what it means to dress up. 

Courtesy of Louis Vuitton

Throughout the collection is the signature Louis Vuitton print, along with plaids, marble prints, furs, stripes, reimagined cultural patterns, and more. This season, step into a ‘new normal’ with Louis Vuitton and dare to free yourself from the social prejudice surrounding people, ideas, and art. 

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