Picture it: the year is 2054. We’ve finally figured out and have fully adopted clean energy, global warming is still a thing but we’ve beaten scientists’ estimates and have managed to reduce the rate of rising temperatures, and we’re still chained to our smartphones.
It will also be Louis Vuitton’s 200th anniversary. The French maison was founded in 1854 as a trunkmakers and, as we all know, has evolved into a full-fledged fashion house.
Arguably, it’s hard to predict what clothes would look like in the next 10 years, let alone 35. But what’s for certain is that we would still need them and the fashion industry will still be there to influence dress. As we evolve and adapt to the changing needs of our environment, there’s the need for the things we use on a daily basis to do the same. Men’s artistic director for Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh, envisions an evolution of fashion where it’s more than just a form of stylistic expression.
The Louis Vuitton 2054 collection can be best described as an extension to what Abloh has continuously created for the maison. His affinity for accessories that seem to meld into clothing—a term he calls ‘accessomorphosis’—is put into full effect for Louis Vuitton 2054. Just as Abloh’s prior creations are imbued with a sense of functionality, the pieces in Louis Vuitton 2054 function beyond what is visible.
An oversized coat is designed with a back pocket that can be unrolled into a life-sized tent that’s raised with included tent poles. Another back pocket, this time on a padded overshirt, turns into a pillow when the latter is rolled into it. Even the accessories are transmutable. The Louis Vuitton 2054 Sleepall—an outdoor interpretation of the maison’s iconic Keepall bag—can be converted into a fully functional sleeping bag. They’re all added functionalities to already functional pieces.
Abloh speaks more about the idea behind Louis Vuitton 2054 and what the collection stands for.
What is Louis Vuitton 2054?
Louis Vuitton 2054 is our definition of the luxury lifestyle corner of fashion. It’s the idea that fashion speaks to different segments of clients, and while the main collection sets the overall tone for the Louis Vuitton men’s platform, audiences tune in on distinct frequencies. This line is a response to a demand for a high-fashion proposal that fuses the properties of performance-oriented, technical activewear with everyday essentials: predominantly nylon-based garments native to the great outdoors, tweaked and elevated into the luxury summit of fashion.
What were your creative references or inspiration when designing this collection?
I was very much inspired by camping equipment and the necessity for it to transform and collapse for easy transport. I found it intriguing—the materials and folding ingenuity that exist in that world of products.
What made you draw on the elements of activewear?
It’s an interest in fashion that can have a relationship to the world around it. We live in a time of increasing awareness—of both ourselves and our surroundings—where businessmen from Paris become weekend warriors in Gstaad and everyone is testing their own limits. In the process, we are creating a heightened level of expectation for everything we do, including what we wear. We expect design to perform, to multi-function, to serve a purpose beyond the obvious. Cloaking yourself in a coat that transforms into a tent or an overshirt that compresses into a pillow for that tent is simply the extreme, quite imaginative response to that mentality.
Why is Louis Vuitton 2054, a utility wear-oriented collection, important to you at this moment in time?
I feel that the future of fashion might not just be clothing as cloths; they will need to do more for the human body. This project was a study in that philosophy.
What were your challenges when developing a collection that is more complex and technical in terms of materials and execution?
From inception, the goal with the Louis Vuitton 2054 collection was to reimagine the brand in the future. The materials, the ways of construction and even ideologies of the future can be made into reality—you just have to dream about it. That gave us a design challenge. I wanted the pieces to transform and multi-functionality is a key theme. All in all, the challenges made the offering much more precise.
Why did you choose to launch Louis Vuitton 2054 as a standalone collection?
We launched Staples Edition, another offshoot line, as part of pre-autumn 2019. The idea behind that collection is to hone the essential garments and accessories that create the foundation for our wardrobe. Louis Vuitton 2054 feels like a natural continuation of that idea: to build an infrastructure within the house that covers all areas of our contemporary way of dressing.
Regarding branding, Louis Vuitton 2054 introduces several new signatures: the 3D LV Logo, trompe-l'œil relief Monogram, transparent Plexiglas zip pullers. How important are new signatures when designing a new collection?
These new signatures are essential in signifying a slightly different DNA that exists in the mainline range we design as a studio. Since the collections run in parallel, I wanted to make a clear distinction between different [forms of] ethos.
Louis Vuitton 2054 is a transversal collection with key statement pieces. How did you identify and select these wardrobe pieces?
Capsule One of Louis Vuitton 2054 is a full set of garments to live with. The muse is a client of luxury who actively engages with the outdoors. The pieces that were selected to be designed fit into that holistic brief.
For more stories like this, subscribe to Esquire Singapore.