Louis Vuitton’s Pre-Spring 2023 Collection Remixes the Keepall Bag
Everything Virgil Abloh did at Louis Vuitton was filtered by his own tastes, especially in music. Certainly there was influence from sources as disparate as his upbringing and his architecture – Abloh held a degree in civil engineering – but the common thread between Abloh’s output was his love of good melody.
Abloh, a DJ himself, has collaborated with turntable maker Pioneer, brought in Benji B to oversee Louis Vuitton’s musical direction, and invited his vast network of stylish musician pals to model collections for LV and his own. Off-White™ label.
A memorable collection was even proudly inspired by Jamiroquai and its impetuous leader.
But Abloh’s Louis Vuitton collections weren’t just musicals. The clothes themselves wrapped themselves in the spirit of sound, transforming what might be rigid transcriptions of obvious references into fluid renderings of free-form experimentation.
Louis Vuitton Spring/Summer 2023 is the first major collection without Abloh, but Pre-Spring 2023 is something of an in-between offering, a clothing line that was “designed” by Abloh, according to LV, but was actually made by the menswear design team that remains busy in the absence of Abloh’s successor.
Whether that’s a role for Martine Rose to fill, as so many rumors have suggested, doesn’t really matter at this point. All that matters is the clothes.
Pre-Spring 2023 was conceived as an ode to proto-DJ David Mancuso, the New York socialite who hosted impromptu listening parties in The Loft, his spacious Noho apartment, throughout the 70s.
Mancuso’s first-ever party, “Love Saves The Day,” is what Abloh was riffing on directly with “Fall in Love,” the title of Louis Vuitton’s pre-SS23 collection.
Counterculture and progressive ideas were fomented at Mancuso rallies, as their fanciful names might imply, and Abloh translated that joyous atmosphere into a flowing uniform of “sculpted” suits, flared pants, shoes in suede, embroidered raincoats and embossed monogram leather bags.
These are no ordinary leather goods, however: Abloh’s team manifested an idea the late designer pitched to them before his passing, in which LV’s signature Taurillon leather was hybridized with stitched denim panels contrasting, uniting the flexible with the robust in a way that echoes the inclusive dancefloors of Mancuso.
Not only is the classic Louis Vuitton Keepall bag made in this two-piece construction, it is also made in Record Canvas, a textile born from the Louis Vuitton “archive” notebooks, with matching Slingbags and backpacks.