Advertisement: Virgil Abloh’s First Men’s Campaign For Louis Vuitton Is Here
PARIS — Louis Vuitton‘s menswear artistic director Virgil Abloh just released his first ever ad campaign for the luxury house.
Abloh is launching a three-pronged digital push that brings in new talents — including a three-year-old boy named Alieyth, who appears in one of the first images set to break today to coincide with Martin Luther King Jr. Day in the U.S.
The first segment of the campaign, was shot by Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin and is entitled “Infancy, Childhood & Adolescence.”
But for the next two phases, Abloh has drafted two outliers from the art world: Algerian multimedia artist Mohamed Bourouissa and Dutch photographer Raimond Wouda.
The content, too, is unexpected. Instead of focusing on product, Abloh said he wanted to illustrate the values of his debut collection, shown in June on a 650-foot-long rainbow catwalk in the Palais-Royal Garden in Paris, in front of an audience of industry insiders, celebrities and fashion school students.
“I’m not content with just designing clothes. I am more enamored with providing a premise of why my designs exist. Today it’s the context that is the punctuation on the object,” Abloh said in a statement provided exclusively to WWD, explaining his concept of campaign as manifesto.
“With the campaign, I wanted to make something that is universal and human at the core. Inclusive and dense, something that has gravity. So I decided I was going to focus the campaign on boyhood, not men’s wear. What makes men? The different stages in one’s life, from infancy all the way through teenager, adolescent, young adult to adult,” he added.
The first batch of images, and accompanying video, by Inez & Vinoodh, focus on the pre-teen and teen stages of boyhood. Alieyth is shown playing with paper boats in a too-large sweater from the “Wizard of Oz”-themed spring collection.
Child actor Leo James Davis, 7, who starred as a transgender child opposite Claire Danes in “A Kid Like Jake,” closes his eyes as he basks in a rainbow against the backdrop of a projected landscape, while 16-year-old Luke Prael, seen in the Boaz Yakin horror movie “Boarding School,” is pictured in a poppy-print jacket.
The second phase, to be released on Feb. 1, is Bourouissa’s photographic homage to a painting by Gustave Courbet which the 19th-century French painter titled “The Artist’s Studio, a real allegory summing up seven years of my artistic and moral life between 1854 and 1855.”
The image features Abloh taking the place of the artist in the center, flanked by members of his team, social circle and models, all wearing the collection.
They include rapper Octavian; Australian stylist and Vogue Australia fashion director Christine Centenera, who styles his Vuitton shows; painter Lucien Smith; British designer, artist and model Blondey McCoy; Giulia and Camilla Venturini, the Italian twins behind the handbag label Medea; guitarist Steve Lacy; singer Sydney Loren Bennett, aka Syd Tha Kyd; British musician Bakar, and Bourouissa himself.
Alton Mason is joined by fellow male models Tuhir Brahmbhatt, Alec Pollentier, Warren Sossa and Omari Phipps, and female models Faith Jaggernauth, Lena Simonne and Lyne Hafi.
The image, as well as close-ups, will appear in the only print ads for the campaign.
The third phase, set to drop on March 22, shows students dressed in the colored T-shirts that Abloh handed out to guests at his debut show. Wouda shot the images, intended as a contemporary take on the group portraits of Dutch Golden Age painting, in schools around Los Angeles.
In March 2018, DM Fashion Book reported that LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has hired Off-White‘s founder and designer Virgil Abloh to lead men’s design at the Louis Vuitton (see it here). He becomes Louis Vuitton’s first African-American artistic director, and one of the few black designers at the top of a French heritage house. Olivier Rousteing is the creative director of Balmain, and Ozwald Boateng, from Britain, was the designer for Givenchy menswear from 2003 to 2007.
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Donovan is the CEO and Editor-In-Chief of www.dmfashionbook.com. For all general inquiries please email firstname.lastname@example.org Donovan has a BA in Journalism & Media Studies from the prestigious Rutgers University. He's currently studying entertainment and fashion law.