Louis Vuitton Menswear is taking to the high seas for SS21

In line with the house's travel heritage, Virgil Abloh’s latest collection for LV will be presented along a voyage from Paris to Shanghai to Tokyo.

by Mahoro Seward
09 July 2020, 10:34am

Image courtesy of Louis Vuitton

Ever since the shadow of coronavirus first started to creep up on us during the AW20 womenswear shows in Paris and Milan, questions have proliferated on just how fashion houses could go about showing their work at this time -- packing coughing guests tight next to one another for hours on end is not, after all, a savvy move during a global pandemic.

As we’ve seen during this most recent couture week, the overwhelmingly favoured option for debuting collections has been the fashion film. And with the first-ever Paris Fashion Week Online kicking off today, we’re sure to see the medium’s reign continue, for this season at least.

At Louis Vuitton, however, a quick online flick isn’t all we’ll be seeing. They are indeed part of the official Paris Fashion Week Online calendar, showing a creative film at 14:30 CEST. This is, however, simply the introduction to an itinerant series of events that will see Louis Vuitton’s “Message in a Bottle” -- the title of Virgil Abloh’s SS21 collection for the house -- travel the world.

Shot at Louis Vuitton’s Maison de Famille at Asnières, just outside Paris, tomorrow’s screening will see “movers packing up Louis Vuitton shipping containers and loading them onto a barge, which sails down the River Seine and leaves Paris,” according to a release. It isn’t just the collection that you’ll find on board: “on it, a colourful crew of animated characters called ‘Zoooom with friends’ are hiding as stowaways.”

After a month at sea, the shipment will dock in Shanghai, where a full-scale Louis Vuitton SS21 Men’s runway show will take place on August 6th. Later in the year, there’ll be a third event in Tokyo, with further possible stops on the collection’s world tour to be announced.

As for the collection itself, it’ll be an extensive offering of around 80 looks, comprising “new looks made from recycled material, looks repeated from the AW20 collection, looks freely created by the studio during the lockdown using recycled material, and new looks created from existing ideas.”

Louis Vuitton’s proposed showcasing model is certainly future-forward, capitalising on the universal accessibility of film, while quenching a thirst for live runway shows. It’s also a clever move at a time when border restrictions around the world prevent the full roster of typical show attendees from descending upon the industry’s traditional centres en masse. Who knows, if Louis Vuitton’s proposal is anything to go by, we may just be entering an era in which, rather than going to see the shows, the shows come to you.

Louis Vuitton SS21
Louis Vuitton
Virgil Abloh
Paris Fashion Week
Paris Fashion Week Online