Virgil Abloh has left a void in the world of fashion that one might never recover from. Earlier this year at Paris Fashion Week, Louis Vuitton showcased its Fall/Winter 2022, the very last men’s collection designed by the late creative director for the house. On June 1 this year at The Pinnacle in Iconsiam, Louis Vuitton hosted the biggest spin-off show in Southeast Asia in Bangkok, presenting its men’s Fall/Winter 2022 collection with nine additional never-seen-before looks.

The celebration of Abloh’s legacy, which is evident in the Fall/Winter ’22 collection, is based on arcs such as the coming-of-age premise, the global perspective, and the cycle of creativity. Debuting the nine previously unseen looks from the original collection, it explores these ideas through circular motifs. Models were seen traversing in circular passages, creating an illusion of circularity.

For Fall-Winter 2022, the eighth chapter in his arc at Louis Vuitton, Abloh constructed a Louis Dreamhouse around a collection that is steeped in the core ideologies of his practice. Titled 8.2, the Bangkok show offers a continuation of the collection first presented during Paris Men’s Fashion Week, which unfolds in a Louis Dreamhouse2, a reinterpretation of the Dreamhouse that was initially presented earlier this year in January.

It manifests in a physical but surrealist sphere where everything is circulated — the sun orbits the set as models travel in circular passages and instruments float planetary in the dreamy ether. Within the wondrous architecture of the Louis Dreamhouse, Abloh employs the Boyhood Ideology key to his philosophy, which is seeing the world with the unspoiled eyes of a child. Through this lens, the membrane between reality and imagination is non-existent. Dreams can come true. Yet to be programmed with the grown up, man-made notions of society — “high or low”, “black or white”, “masculine or feminine” — the mind of a child knows no limits, no prejudice.

A cinematic prelude created for the show’s digital audience, titled I Dream You, portrays the Boyhood Ideology, which is a key to the philosophy of Abloh through the lens of the director Sivaroj Kongsakul. Based on the filmmaker’s own childhood memories, the story follows the formative experiences of an 11-year-old boy in the surroundings of rural Thailand. It is an illustration of a belief integral to Virgil Abloh’s worldview: Youth is global. In a recording from 2019 played before the show, Abloh said, “We might go to India or Kansas or Cuba, but wherever we go, the focus is youth: the stage in your life before you’ve been taught or programmed to do, think or wear certain things. And in that study, you realise that teenagers on opposite sides of the world are dealing with the same things. It reflects the fact that fundamentally, we are all one.”

The ideology brings in a collection that reimagines the dress codes popularly tied to societal archetypes such tailoring, sportswear, and dresses, and patchworks them in new ways — starting with ready-to-wear pieces such as varsity jackets, gender-fluid silhouettes, and overcoats featuring tapestry and sceneries — an ode to the ancestral town of Louis Vuitton. The tapestry appearing in tailoring features one of three images: The Painter’s Studio by Gustave Courbet from 1855, Souvenir d’Italie by Giorgio de Chirico from 1914, and a floral Gobelin from the 19th century.

Tie-dye is a recurring motif in the work of Abloh, which is interpreted on embossed monogram denim pieces and in a shearling coat. Kaftans and jellabas represent a genderless silhouette, while patchwork is used to cut up archetypical garments and put them back together in new ways, such as a blouson patchworked from printed jersey T-shirts and denim jackets. It further dives deep into the imagery of natural, supernatural, and spiritual forces like time, magic, and creation, which appear as childlike depictions, including motifs and graphics of wizard motifs, animal elements, angel wings, cherubs, clouds, and the Grim Reaper. 

The colour palette ranges between shades of white, muted tones, and vibrant palettes. Angel wings made an appearance in the accessories, a key highlight of the show. They are constructed like kites in lace, tulle, cotton poplin and sheer fabrics with intricate embroideries that pay tribute to the childlike imagination of flying, as well as the notion of heaven on earth. Climbing bags in anthracite, grey, and sky blue Taurillon leather are embellished with climbing holds, representing the idea of climbing into heaven. Blurry monogram bags obscure the familiar monogram pattern, while shapes are skewed and distorted in line with the surrealism of the collection.

Paint bucket bags appear in leather with graphics or monograms, and metal handles. Crocodile bags are printed with tie-dye and rubberised, whereas the tapestry bags feature the 19th century floral motif of the collection and have a camouflage effect. Jewellery handcrafted in enamel, strass, hand-cut stones, and metal mixes animal motifs, utensils, and pipes on Cuban chains; Running Man and mushroom pendants appear on multi-colour chains; spiders and spider-webs feature in palladium ear cuffs, large ear cuffs are covered in crystals, echoed in regal earrings and rings; and the LV Storm Monogram surrounds the house’s metal logo in enamel clouds.

Coming to the shoes, baroque boots appear in two styles, which are created in the tapestries of the collection and fully hand-embellished with embroideries and beading. The baroque boots hybridise formal and combat codes, manifesting in ranger boots, Chelsea boots, and derbies. The LV Trainer 2 is a new basketball sneaker in nubuck or Nappa leather with neoprene detailing, and comes in six colour options. The LV Trainer evolves in new variations such as high-tops and low-tops in tech materials, plastic, and embossed neoprene, as well as the fabrics of the collection.

Apart from the show, the notes on it represent the creative process of Abloh exploring the Fall/Winter 2022 collection. “I believe in nuance because I believe in the intelligence and perceptiveness of my audiences,” said Abloh in July 2020, which is included in the show notes. “As I proceed and continue to infuse my vision with Black aesthetics and inclusivity, I will never underestimate them. Through my own reality, I am interested in the reversal of the expected roles of races within society, and the discourse it creates. I am interested in contributing to the progression of fashion’s relationship with labels and stereotypes: ‘designer’ versus ‘image-maker,’ ‘luxury’ versus ‘streetwear,’ or the nuanced idea of streetwear versus ‘streetwear’ itself. In my game of inverted commas, streetwear is a community founded in the subculture, while ‘streetwear’ is a commodity founded in fashion.”

While Fall/Winter ’22 offers one last glimpse of the Abloh-designed collection, the late creative’s art and vision will remain timeless.