Virgil Abloh's debut for Louis Vuitton Men's was one of the most highly-anticipated shows on the S/S '19 schedule! The show proved to be nothing short of a MOMENT, one that left attendees and Abloh himself overwhelmed with joy!
The show took place in Paris at the luxurious Domaine du Palais and featured a prismatic, rainbow-colored runway--a visual that was even more significant while we're in the midst of Pride month. Guests, a roster that included celebrities, musicians and the best and brightest in fashion and streetwear, were gifted t-shirts whose colors coordinated with the sections of color on the runway as an opportunity to participate in the overall spectacle.
The streetwear influence that has been prevalent in fashion and the luxury segment was undeniably evident. The show featured a refreshingly diverse range of models, with Kid Cudi, Steve Lacy, Playboi Carti, Blondey McCoy and more among them, draped in silhouettes and styles that boasted a cool yet polished vibe. The collection's content featured lightweight, graphic-printed jackets, pieces with LV-emblazoned details, long trench coats, hoodies, loose shirts, baggy pants, separates and so much more. Louis Vuitton is a brand known for its innovations in accessories in relation to travel and transportation, so its accessories were where the beauty of the collection really shined. Chest rigs, padded, zip-up vests, belt bags, side bags, mini trunks, duffels and more were pieces that drove the collection home. Iridescent-finished, LV-accented holdall bags were a personal favorite.
Video Credit: Youtube/ Louis Vuitton
Virgil Abloh's debut collection as the artistic director for Louis Vuitton Men's was nothing short of amazing. From the clothing and accessories to the runway to the show's musical production (live music from four-piece band BADBADNOTGOOD and music from Kanye's ye), the air at the show was filled with joy, speechless excitement and anticipation for what's to come, I'm sure. The finale yielded a standing ovation and erupted in cheers as Virgil took his victory walk at the presentation's close. The emotional embrace with Kanye further cemented teh moment and was representative of all of the hard work and dedication that brought Virgil to this point. History was made, and this is something to celebrate!
Virgil Abloh will join the ranks of Oswald Boateng and Olivier Rousteing, black men who have been at the creative helm of major design houses. Definitely one for the books!
I'm seriously over people picking apart situations that really aren't that deep and don't need a dissertation or think piece to accompany them.
Image Credit: Twitter, @hausmuva
A debate via Twitter exploded down the timeline that crossed into the realms of colorism/ classism, black sterotypes and the degradation of black women.
Here we have Nicki Minaj, the subject of a shoot with Elle Magazine. Kim Kimble, a famous celebrity hairstylist, stepping into the frame to do her job to ensure that her work is seen in its best light. Karl Lagereld, the creative director behind the shoot saw something beautiful in this set up and told Kimble to stay in the frame.
When I saw this image, I thought oh okay, Kim's fixing Nicki's hair. Some behind-the-scenes shot, maybe. I didn't feel like the image was degrading Kimble and displaying Nicki as a high-class, aristocrat who has her maid come in and cater to her needs. I didn't get Mammy vibes. I didn't get a dark-skinned woman being shown as lesser because of her stature and a light-skinned woman being better than because of her appearance and long, straightened hair. I saw a woman being paid to do her job and taking pride in her craft. In this image, two women who are both very wealthy and dominating in their respective fields doing what they came on set to do. The fact that this captured moment is being stripped down to tired archetypes of light-skinned versus dark-skinned women is indicative of a bigger issue. Deep down, these illustrations and situations of classism and colorism are so ingrained in the minds of black people that we can't take things for what they are. A narrative was created here that sparked a conversation that wasn't helpful or necessary.
If we wanted to have a conversation about Lagerfeld and the photographer that made this image possible, we definitely can. Lagerfeld has consistently been problematic for years. Was this his intention with this photo? Was he seeking to perpetuate a negative narrative to stir things up? I wouldn't put it past him, but we'll never really know.
To lend a hand to understanding both sides, I get it: optics matter. There is the assumption that the average person knows who Kimble is, so they simply see a dark-skinned woman being of service to Nicki Minaj, a light-skinned woman. This is exactly how they views us. To me, that's a lazy argument. The only ones arguing about this is us, so is it really just them who believes this narrative? All of that still lends to the idea that the -isms at play have power over our minds, and we allow them to take over every time. Everything is made into a race issue, whether valid or not. It's one thing to recognize that there are outside things at play in a situation; it's an entirely different thing to give power to those things and further perpetuate them.
The way that this image was broken down was a lot, and the mental gymnastics being exercised here are exhausting. It's a shame that these -isms are embedded so deeply in our minds that we always see an issue with something innocent; it is truly sad. An organic moment captured on set was turned into a master/ servant narrative because people can't let go of these types of prejudices, and that's damaging. Kim Kimble, despite her success and stature her industry, was reduced down to her skin color and a tired stereotype, saying a lot more about how dark-skinned women are viewed in society.
Are we seriously that pressed for controversy and to be "woke?"
Image Credit: E Online
Image Credit: IG/ @aurorajames
"Here's to hoping that people of color will be recognized as more than inspirations and 'muses' one day," says Aurora James in her IG stories after the CFDA Awards, apologizing to her followers and proclaiming that she would make it up to them.
The Brother Vellies founder and creative director was nominated for the Swarovski Award for Emerging Talent at this year's "fashion oscars." She was the second black woman to be nominated for the award, following Carly Cushnie of Cushnie et Ochs. James was nominated for her amazing work in accessories design and in creating opportunities of employment for women in underserved communities in Morocco, South Africa, Ethiopia and Kenya. With Brother Vellies, not only is James creating sustainable jobs in Africa, but she has introduced traditional African footwear and craftsmanship to the American fashion space.
Among the nominees in the category for 2018 alongside James were Kerby Jean-Raymond of Pyer Moss, Kristopher Brock and Laura Vassar Brock of Brock Collection, Sander Lak of Sies Marjan and Mike Amiri of Amiri. Sandar Lak took home the award.
The thing that hurts here is that no matter the amount of work that black people do for the fashion industry, the frequency of their work being celebrated on a main stage is few and far between. Like James mentioned in her IG story, everyone is inspired by those within the black community and black people are always someone's muse in this industry. However, when the fashion industry has to make a decision on who will come out on top, designers and tastemakers and stylists (the list goes on) of color are rarely chosen to take the top spot. We are the muse of the culture but are not being rightfully credited as such. Time and time again, we are the honorable mention. The same black figures and figures of color are recycled in the forefront as a means to pacify the issue. We are looked down upon for standing in and showcasing our truths, stories and aesthetics but are forced to stand by and watch everyone else take credit for what started with our communities. Every time a person of color is celebrated or appointed to a high position or the like, the moment is monumental. At some point, the fashion has to get to a point where inclusion and diversity and giving people their flowers and praise while they're still here is commonplace. The hype surrounding appointments like Elaine Welteroth, Edward Enninful and Virgil Abloh or other happenings concerning black men and women in this industry die down just as quickly as the moments arise. Then it's off to the next thing; business as usual. I will always celebrate and shed light on black men and women that are doing amazing things in the industry that I've grown to love. While we don't need to look to the mainstream to validate our existence in fashion spaces, it'd be nice to actually be celebrated for our accomplishments and contributions on the same level that our fair-skinned counterparts are.
Aurora James deserved better. Kerby Jean-Raymond also deserved better. We, as a community, also have to be vigilant about putting our own on pedestals, celebrating our own and not waiting for others to realize our value. We have to choose ourselves when no one else will.
I will always be thankful to all of the designers of color who continue to feed the industry that we have so much love for even when the industry doesn't always show love in return.
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