In a bid to upend traditional notions of what a fashion campaign can be Louis Vuitton Men’s Creative Director Virgil Abloh has unveiled his first men’s ad campaign for the house that blends idealism, community, and diveristy.
The digital-focused campaign was developed to release in three monthly stages and done in collaboration with three different artists; established fashion photographer duo Inez & Vinoodh for phase one, Algerian multimedia artist Mohamed Bourouissa for phase two, and Dutch photographer Raimond Wouda for phase three.
Overall the campaign is a reflection on Abloh’s core values for the house, looking at the definition of a ‘campaign’ as ‘a verb delineating the act of soliciting support for a cause.’ Children appear in phase one as a metaphor for the developmental stages that form a man’s identity and wardrobe. Each bathed in poppy and rainbow motifs central The Wizard of Oz allegories that painted the Spring 2019 launch collection.
Phase two is representative of creation and community as Mohamed Bourouissa, reimagines in photography the 1855 oil on canvas work The Painter’s Studio by the French realist Gustave Courbet. The original work depicts Courbet working on a painting, flanked to his left by people from all levels of French society, and to his right by members of high society. Through the contemporary perspective of Virgil Abloh, the designer is pictured fitting a look from Spring-Summer 2019 surrounded by members of his team, social circle, and models, each clad in the collection. Where Courbet’s painting interpreted ‘real world ’ society for the eyes of the cultural elite, Virgil Abloh portrays the all-encompassing exchange that defines his vision for Louis Vuitton: diversity, inclusivity, and unity.
Phase three by Raimond Wouda, depicts the formative communication between teenagers in group situations fundamental to the evolvement of a man from boyhood into adulthood. A contemporary take on the ‘schuttersstukken’ of the Dutch Baroque, the images were photographed around schools in Los Angeles and observe the interactive culture specific to our teenage years: the desire to belong, contrasted by the need for individuality. In constant evolution with the times, this age-particular tension between uniformity and diversity paves the way for a man’s future understanding of his own identity, wardrobe and what that means.
Overall the campaign is a triumph of intellectualism married with solid marketing as long as the firm can grease the wheels of editorial communication to give meaning to the images as they are released. As for The Impression we always love a fresh perspective that is as strong if not strong during a sophomore outing as a freshman. But must tip our hat in acknowledgment of originality and fearlessness at carving a new path not just for the house, but for the industry. We anxiously await the transition of boyhood to manhood of Virgil Abloh’s Louis Vuitton Men’s.
Phase 1 – Infancy, Childhood, and Adolescence Inez & Vinoodh Released on January 21st, the pieces exercise the ongoing study of boyhood first introduced by Virgil Abloh in his Spring-Summer 2019 collection for Louis Vuitton.
Louis Vuitton Men’s Creative Director | Virgil Abloh Photographers | Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin Talent | Alieyth, Leo James Davis, Luke Prael
Phase 2 – The Painter’s Studio Mohamed Bourouissa To be released on February 1st, The Painter’s Studio, by Mohamed Bourouissa, reimagines in photography the 1855 oil on canvas work The Painter’s Studio by the French realist Gustave Courbet.
Louis Vuitton Men’s Creative Director | Virgil Abloh Photographer | Mohamed Bourouissa Talent | Virgil Abloh, Mohamed Bourouissa, Christine Centenera, Lucien Smith, Blondey McCoy, Giulia Venturini, Camilla Venturini, Steve Lacy, Sydney Loren Bennett, Alton Mason, Tuhir Brahmbhatt, Alec Pollentier, Warren Sossa, Omari Phipps, Faith Jaggernauth, Lena Simonne and Lyne Hafi, and Bakar.
Phase 3 – School Teens Raimond Wouda To be released on March 22nd by Raimond Wouda, depicts the formative communication between teenagers in group situations fundamental to the evolvement of a man from boyhood into adulthood. Students dressed in block-color t-shirts evoke the Spring-Summer 2019 Louis Vuitton show for which Virgil Abloh invited 1500 young students clad in similar garments to form the color spectrum of a rainbow.
Louis Vuitton Men’s Creative Director | Virgil Abloh Photographer | Raimond Wouda Talent | Various Los Angeles high school students