It was history in the making.

All eyes in the fashion world were fixed on Chicago native Virgil Abloh’s debut spring-summer 2019 menswear collection for Louis Vuitton on Thursday in Paris.

It was a monumental day for the DJ-turned-designer, who was named men’s artistic director of Vuitton in March, making him the first African-American to hold the role at the historic French luxury fashion house. His wildly successful men’s and women’s fashion label Off-White showed in Paris the previous day.

The celebrity-packed audience included his collaborator, longtime friend and fellow Chicagoan Kanye West (Abloh was West’s former creative director), Kim Kardashian West, Rihanna (wearing pieces from the debut men’s collection), Naomi Campbell, Bella Hadid, Kylie Jenner, Travis Scott, ASAP Rocky, Takashi Murakami, Rita Ora, Victor Cruz and more.

In total, 2,500 guests attended the open-air event, held in the gardens at Palais Royal, including thousands of local students Abloh invited.

Set on a gradient runway painted vibrant rainbow colors, the debut men’s collection, called “Color Theory,” according to the designer on Instagram, was directed by street artist Jim Joe. For the show, Abloh called upon many of his friends in the art and music worlds to walk the runway.

In total, the show featured 56 men’s looks, spanning apparel, accessories and shoes.

The show opened with a white double-breasted suit, flowing into several white and off-white looks done in loose-cut silhouettes and technical-looking fabrics.

Musician Steve Lacy sported a white LV logo mesh Tee with baggy white pants and sneakers.

The collection then dove into shades of brown, green, colorful camouflage, red and neon.

A light green hoodie paired with light green oversized trousers and trench coat, worn by music artist and actor Kid Cudi, looked elegant and sophisticated.

If any guy can pull off a red suit, it was model Alton Mason. The runway look was finished with an LV logo belt, luggage-colored travel satchel and the brand’s high fashion take on hiking boots.

Rapper and model Playboi Carti closed the show with an oversized metallic poncho, iridescent chain-link duffle and graphic print pants.

The bags alone presented a whole new world of options when it comes to men’s accessories — think furry backpacks, oversized white duffle bags that can also be worn as a backpack and a plastic see-through neon green carryall.

The importance of history and seeing how people are connected does not seem lost on 38-year-old Abloh, raised in the working class suburb of Rockford, Ill., and who holds a degree in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a master’s in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Fashion seems to be the vehicle the designer is using to explore the past and the future.

“Essential to my show concept is a global view on diversity linked to the travel DNA of the brand,” Abloh wrote on Instagram, adding that a world diagram on the guests’ seats at the show would give the model’s birthplace as well as the birthplace of their parents.

After the show, a teary-eyed Abloh shared an emotional embrace with West — a moment that’s been shared all over the Internet and social media.

Congratulatory posts from the fashion, music and art worlds have flooded social media, too—from people like Erykah Badu, Marc Jacobs, Tommy Hilfiger, January Jones, Cindy Crawford, Kris Jenner, David Beckham and countless more, praising the debut collection.

And on Instagram, Abloh posted a photo of himself on the multicolored runway, back turned, wearing purple pants and a black tee with “Louis Vuitton June 21 2018” printed in white on the back, hand on his head, with the caption: “You can do it too…”


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