Picture a garden filled with just one type of flower, a sunrise without sunshine, or a skyline suddenly missing its age-old spire. Familiarity can programme the mind to take the most epic things for granted. For the Louis Vuitton Spring-Summer 2020 collection, men’s artistic director Virgil Abloh lionises the instinctive, the habitual and the natural. Flowers, a staple element in fashion, are observed as a naturally occurring metaphor for diversity. In bloom, they are as beautiful on a micro level as they are on a macro level.
Too often relegated to trivial motifs, flowers are wonders of nature: multi-faceted, free in expression, movement, and metamorphosis. They are the rising stars of horticulture, an equally ordinary but highly therapeutic activity, reflective of natural harmony and peace of mind. In the cityscape, flowers blend into a horizon of unsung heroes: the magnificent buildings, bridges and pavements to which we grow accustomed and partially blind. Seen in new light, or wrapped in different packaging, they emerge in newfound splendour.
On Place Dauphine, a routine stroll across Pont Neuf from the Louis Vuitton studios, the postcard scenery of Paris sets the frame for the show. The mundanity of everyday café life, walks across the Seine, crêpe stands, and tree-lined square ambience harmonises with the typical idea of boyhood bliss: a bouncy castle, ice cream, balloons, and kite-flying. The show is surrounded by the remarkable Parisian architecture we couldn’t live without.
Through the stages of boyhood, young men’s encounter with clothes and fashion is yet to be influenced by societal programming. Our exploration of dress codes is still liberated of those codes; of social norms, gender conventions, and cultural conduct. As we get older, we intuitively adapt to the familiarity of our surroundings. In a digital age oversaturated with views and visual data, stopping to smell the roses de-programmes the mind and makes new space for freedom of thought.