In A Touching Tribute, Tyler, The Creator, Scores The Final Show Of Virgil Abloh At Louis Vuitton

“Virgil was here.”

Anchored by the concept of milestones and mortality, as well as of the codes of consciousness and creativity compelled by Virgil Abloh, Tyler, The Creator dreams up a stirring score befitting a final farewell.

If the prelude to the Louis Vuitton show, a posthumous presentation of Virgil Abloh’s untimely truncated tenure at the French heritage house was any indication, things were bound to get emotional. “There’s this place I know. It’s something like a dream. The people here don’t exit that state. Everything is touched by their dreaming—awake or asleep or in between, here is where it stays and where it’s made,” begins the Men’s Fall/Winter 2022 short film, a calming cinematic introduction to 𝓛𝓸𝓾𝓲𝓼 Dreamhouse™. In the imagination set to visual motion, there is an emphasis on doors and dreams, which is eerie considering the bookends of mortality that seemingly sustains the narrative.

“When your imagination has a pulse, it sort of sparkles forth. It lets you make things happen as long as you believe they will. It’s similar to fire but with healing properties,” continues the voice, breathing life to the codes that guided Virgil Abloh in his lifelong pursuit of passions. “Many people can’t see it. Many don’t believe their sleep dream an carry on when they’re awake.”

The mood in Paris was as expected, somber, but while this was particularly a period of mourning by friends, family, and fans of Virgil Abloh, there was a current of celebration that brought the space to life. And setting this stillness to stirring symphony at Louis Vuitton was a score by a constant collaborator and friend, Tyler, The Creator.

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The Score Of Tyler, The Creator

There was a lot to take in at the presentation of collection 8, the final orchestration of Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton. A sustaining swing of his efforts of expansion and inclusion at the heritage brand, the experience that was 𝓛𝓸𝓾𝓲𝓼 Dreamhouse™ served as a compendium of the conversations that the late great creative director compelled. References were aplenty, most notably The Truman Show-esque staircase from the presentation of collection 4, the contemporary dance performance that underscored the entire show, and finally, the swelling soundtrack that Tyler, The Creator worked on with the Chineke! Orchestra, which was reminiscent of an earlier nod to the golden age of Hollywood through the lens of The Wizard Of Oz for collection 1.

Amid the larger-than-life bed, the roof that puffed out smoke, and the steps that filled up the industrial space with an extensive ceiling space and intricate buttresses that invited as much natural light is as possible, it was the sprawling table where the musicians sat that stood out across the scene definitely made for dreams. It was a particularly poignant touch, because apart from them essaying the score of Tyler, The Creator, it was a distinct display of Virgil Abloh’s ethos of giving everyone, especially the sidelined, a seat at the table.

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“I love yall,” Tyler, The Creator shared on Instagram, posing with the Chineke! Orchestra. “Did the music for [Louis Vuitton] show with some GENIUS minds.”

Playing out like the swelling soundtrack after the movie ends, music that accompanied the runway presentation was a sensorial swirl that began with an instrumentation that was slow, steady, and sad, before progressing to a cinematic flourish of Old Hollywood black and whites, and finally, soaring to a sonorous ambience that was decidedly contemporary, thrilling percussions and all.

Welcome To The Playhouse

In tune with the collection, which was completed in the vision of Virgil Abloh by his design team, the musicality of the show as conceived by Tyler, The Creator was the flourish that tied the whole Louis Vuitton together. With overviews of jazz, blues, and the subtle beat of hip-hop further along the show that ran for 21 minutes and 47 seconds, it only elevated the rundown of fashion as realized in the looks worn by 20 dancers and 67 models. At every swish and flick of the baton by the musical lead directing the champion of change and diversity that is the Chineke! Orchestra, it was perfectly matched by the parade of milestones, and well, mortality at 𝓛𝓸𝓾𝓲𝓼 Dreamhouse™.

The tireless and tenacious quality of creativity by Virgil Abloh was in full display from the get-go. Tailoring was less strict, but nonetheless severe with broad shoulders, nipped waists, and flared trousers; streetwear was energized in floral prints, eye-popping optics, and even a smattering of sparkle here and there; and robust volume was carefully compounded with silhouette. And this eventually settling to be his magnum opus, the contrasts and codes that he challenged were generously peppered all throughout. Think dazzling details, caps with suits, lace wings, splashes of skirts, sheen, and silken textures, and a deceptive overlay of paisley on veils.

Not lost in the spectacle of Fall/Winter 2022 show were the bags, which form the backbone of Louis Vuitton. From shape-shifts of enduring classics in the leather goods portfolio of the brand, there was a lot to squint and zoom into, such as paint bucket bags, puffed up carry-ons, mid-sized trunks splashed with color, and perhaps most fittingly, handhelds fashioned as bouquets of springtime.

Virgil Was Here

With an overarching whimsy to his work, as seen in the thoughtful presentation, as well as of an energy that carried through the spectators, much like how Tyler, The Creator was earlier seen biking around the set in a monogrammed Louis Vuitton bike or the artistic team and models hyping each other up in the end, this was the coming together that reminded everyone of Virgil Abloh. Most importantly, and as was central to the famed force of fashion, this was a legacy built on the continued creation anchored by the compromise and convergence of grit and grace, streetwear and high-fashion, form and function, and the all-important past and future.

While there was certainly a lot of potential seamed into his seasonal proposition, this was unfortunately the full stop of Virgil Abloh. And in a fitting homage to his vision, as well as of the shifts he made for the industry as a whole, the rest of his design team took to the spotlight in honor of their fallen leader, all clad in a sunset gradient that was a prevalent motif for this undertaking. “The sparkle doesn’t belong to any of us,” and so lingers the words that prepared us for this final bow. “When it’s all over and our time is no longer, we leave it behind for others to seek their own dreams.”

This may have been that cinematic rolling of the credits, but instead of an unceremonious pitch black at the very end, his life and times will live on our creative consciousness. Here, there was no “that’s all folks,” instead in its place was a reverence to a true disruptor as brought to life by the impactful yet playful mark of a life well lived: “Virgil was here.”

CONTINUE READING: FROM THE STREETS TO LOUIS VUITTON, WE LOOK BACK AT THE PROFOUND LEGACY OF VIRGIL ABLOH

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