Louis Vuitton’s recent menswear show was a visual feast that highlighted the brand’s ability to create captivating communication and must-have items. The event was the result of a collective effort, with contributions from Colm Dillane, Ibrahim Kamara, and the Gondry brothers. Dillane, who hails from Brooklyn and is self-taught in design, was “embedded” within the Louis Vuitton team to help carry on Virgil Abloh’s legacy. Alongside Kamara, Dillane worked on re-inventing classic menswear and incorporating references to Black culture in a witty and surreal manner.
A standout aspect of the show was the incorporation of Dillane’s own brand, KidSuper, known for its distinctive name and hand-drawn artwork. Dillane’s paintings of people and domestic interiors served as inspiration for patchworked tracksuits and jacquard-embroidered suits and coats. This reference to KidSuper pays homage to Abloh’s legacy, as he often emphasized the importance of remembering and valuing the child within the adult.
The set design for the show reflected this theme, showcasing rooms in a house where a child has grown into an adult. As Rosalia sang, models could be seen rummaging through a Louis Vuitton trunk filled with childhood toys. The program notes for the show delved into the theme of millennial rites of passage, teenage bedrooms, and early memories of playing on computers.
Dillane, who frequently includes his paintings in his clothing, was able to push this technique to a new level of luxury with a tapestry-style jacquard coat. Some of the most striking pieces in the collection were a camouflage face print, blended with Louis Vuitton’s signature monogram, which appeared on everything from workwear pants to Keepall bags, as well as a striking embossed leather and suede jacket. Additionally, Dillane had members of Louis Vuitton’s design studio write letters in their native language, which were then embroidered and pieced together to create a whimsical millefeuille design and reproduced in leather, appearing to escape from wallets and bags.
The Fall/Winter 2023 collection showcased a mix of Louis Vuitton’s familiar cartoonish tailoring, fused with digital glitch effects and Surrealist details, such as extra sleeves cinching the waist of a burgundy suit jacket, and double-layered coats with removable shoulders. Dillane’s performance served as an audition for a full-time role with Louis Vuitton and his future with the brand is now in the hands of the new CEO, Pietro Beccari, who may want to put his own stamp on the house by confirming a permanent successor to Virgil Abloh, who passed away in November 2021, leaving Louis Vuitton without a creative director of menswear.