Two days ago, Virgil Abloh unveiled his latest menswear collection for Louis Vuitton with a cinematic runway show that combines poetry, hip-hop, and next-level fits captured in cinematography that conjures a Tarantino film (there’s even a mysterious suitcase that we never learn the full contents of). The Fall/Winter 2021 collection, dubbed “E B O N I C S” consists mostly of formalwear, with suits, jackets, boots, and reflective accessories dominating, and a couple of pieces that are clearly conceptual. Unless Abloh actually envisions a world where people walk through the airport with airplane shaped bags, which isn’t out of the realm of possibility.
The collection was presented via an experimental fifteen-minute film titled Peculiar Contrast, Perfect Light that opens with iconic poet and rapper Saul Williams roaming through the pristine Swiss Alps as he delivers a free form poetic verse over cascading waves of harp strings with heavy allusions to James Baldwin’s seminal “Stranger in the Village,” musing about Black identity in a white space, itself an allusion to Abloh’s own position as the artistic director of Louis Vuitton.
Peculiar Contrast, Perfect Light consists of three main acts: the opening scenes in the Alps with Williams, who we follow into Paris’ Tennis Club where the rest of the collection is revealed, a beautiful interlude with artful choreography with words by poet and activist Kai-Isaiah Jamal (who also appears in the film), and finally an explosive third act that puts Yasiin Bey (Mos Def) center stage where his trademark spacey vocals weave through flows both old and new.
“Usually I have run-on sentences for days but today I don’t,” Abloh revealed on his Instagram ahead of the launch, “my whole being has been poured out into this film here.” It’s really quite the presentation and, on top of all of that, it’s legitimately Abloh’s best Louis Vuitton collection from a streetwear POV. Period.
For any Abloh haters out there who have felt the superstar has lost his touch since “The Ten” and the early days of Off-White, we implore you: watch the film. You can see the whole thing above and, whatever you think it is, it’s certainly not without big ideas or creative vision — two aspects that can go missing in Abloh’s designs when he’s rushed.