Louis Vuitton Spring 2025 Menswear

“It went from black, to dark brown, to brown, to light brown, to beige, a little bit of gray in there… and light beige, and then finally to white… It was a homage to human beings.” So said Pharrell Williams after this blockbuster of a Louis Vuitton menswear show that encoded the house’s complex kaleidoscope of design output within a wider narrative that required no code at all to decrypt.

Williams said in a preview that it was the imminence of the Paris 2024 Olympics (“when the world will be watching”) that first inspired the shape of this show. However it was another imminent event, France’s snap elections, that gave tonight’s presentation a special piquancy. The blue, green, and black check that took off most prominently around 70 looks in was based on a pattern used in luggage created for Air Afrique, the pan-continental airline that operated from the 1960s until 2002. The name was recently revived as a vehicle for diasporic discussion and design here in the French capital by a group of creatives including Lamine Diaoune, Djiby Kebe, Jeremy Konko, and Ahmadou-Bamba Thiam, all of whom worked on this collection alongside Williams. He said: “They all have a reverence for our homeland, the homeland of the species. The way they think about things is so beautiful…And you know, all the colors come from black.”

From look 1 to look 66 the color of both the collection and the skintones of the men wearing it progressed broadly as laid out by Williams in the opening quote. Then, from look 67 to the close, that linear evolution switched to become more adjacently mixed, blended, and various: multicultural. This pattern was reflected in garments that returned to Williams’s episodic expressions of camouflage, which here included pixelated renditions of python skin or the map of the world with Africa at its center. There was a version of the house damier whose paler brown checks were overprinted on leather or overlaid in jacquards with multicolored seeds of pigment. Two soccer ball panel leather looks referenced the global game.

We were in the grounds of UNESCO House under a sky full of low, shifting clouds which threatened but never delivered rain. Skittish gusts of wind worried the flags of the world raised behind the 15-meter diameter UNESCO globe. Very broadly, the collection was divided between two paradigms of character, the diplomat and the student. As a vehicle this allowed Williams and the LV mens’ team to explore multiple sub-genres of menswear, into which were inserted multiple layers of meticulously crafted detail. These however, were often themselves semi-obscured upon first look both by the sheer scale of this show and that instinct for camouflage. As Williams said: “The intention here is to not be so loud, but to be very intentional in the details. We live in a culture that zooms in and zooms out. So I wanted it to be that when you zoom in the stitch and fabric is unlike anything you’ve ever seen or felt before. And when you zoom out, you understand that we love the world.”

That world—as seen from orbit from two opposing angles—was itself used as a detail in enamel physical maps embedded in buttons the size of a fingernail. The LV logo was often barely visibly embossed or debossed into leather or denim. In one of the opening looks a jacket collar and accompanying beret band were hand embroidered in black-on-black tonal pins in the damier check. And in one of the later white looks, a shirt and topcoat were embroidered in a barely visible windowpane check fashioned of crystal and pearl. Pajama suits were piped with pearls. If you zoomed your eye into the apparently python-pattern camouflage damier print on the pearl buttoned overshirt in look 39, you saw that it was almost entirely hand-embroidered: that piece alone reportedly took a team of 30 LV artisans, each working 10 days, to complete. The selection of bags, bijoux, shoes, sunglasses and other satellite luxury accoutrements represented a universe of its own: one particularly attractive body within it was the series of throwback heritage designs issued in soft leather with noticeably upsized monogram patterning and a gently weathered vegetal leather piping and trim.

Said Williams: “I have a circumference of geniuses around me. Masterful artisans at my fingertips… It humbles me.” This was a show that wrapped intense complexity within apparent simplicity, and which managed to work both as a showcase for apex luxury goods while pitching a more universal statement about unity, division, diaspora, and perspective.

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