In an interview with Dazed last December, Virgil Abloh predicted that streetwear was "gonna die" in the 2020s, hinting that the obsessive culture surrounding its key pieces seemed to be reaching a saturation point. Those decisive comments were a buzzworthy shock—how could they not be, coming from the designer behind Off-White, which has become integral to the streetwear movement's luxury sector? However, Abloh's bold statement ultimately foreshadowed a strong vision for the future, which he has now begun to reveal in the Louis Vuitton Fall 2020 Men's show, marking his fourth season with the French house.
The show helped streetwear fans and the fashion community as a whole realize that Abloh's new direction is more about opening doors than closing them, reimagining how to create exciting pieces at the dawn of a new decade. "Streetwear is a concept freely accepted and refused by Virgil Abloh," the Louis Vuitton house elaborated upon the opinion of its men's artistic director. "With the current upheaval of dress codes, the idea that we have of streetwear requires a redefinition of the term itself. Today, streetwear refers to the clothes we wear and the way we wear them."
The least we can say is that Paris Fashion Week Men's star designer knows how to keep us on our toes, making a radical new statement with each collection. After a moment of summer romanticism at Place Dauphine last season, this time Abloh went for Magritte-style surrealism, something he hinted at with the invitation, which featured a clock whose second hand rotates counterclockwise. Upon arriving at the Louis Vuitton Fall 2020 Men's show, guests entered a floor-to-ceiling sky box, with oversized, Claes Oldenburg-inspired obects—think keys, scissors, and spools of thread—scattered throughout. Provoding a musical backdrop to the show was a DJ set by Juan Atkins and Richard David, AKA Cybotron, an '80s Detroit electro duo that reunited for the occasion.
The collection itself, which Abloh titled "Heaven On Earth," lived up to its optimistic name. In place of the streetwear codes that defined the 2010s, Louis Vuitton Fall 2020 Men's was a joyful tribute to contemporary tailoring, with traditional codes completely redesigned for future generations. Models walked in head-to-toe sky ensembles or sported pops of pink, emphasizing joy as much as craft. Down to the smallest detail, the acclaimed designer worked his creativity to the fullest in order to display just what would replace—or perhaps just reinvent—the streetwear codes he forecasted are on their way out.
Above all, Vuitton is a house known for its longstanding accessories expertise, and Abloh's latest collection showed how even heritage leather goods can enter a new era. Using distorted forms, mirrored surfaces, and ombré blue tones coordinating with the sky theme, the designer furthered his message of surrealism all while showing the achievable magic of dreaming a little more in the everyday. If the Fall 2020 season, and the new decade it launches, is truly signaling the dawn of a "neo-tailoring" that finally manages to fuse the formal with streetwear, it seems Abloh has proven to be a true master of fashion's next era.