'Virgil Was Here': Inside the Emotional Louis Vuitton Show in Miami

'Virgil Was Here': Inside the Emotional Louis Vuitton Show in Miami

The boat that transported guests to the Louis Vuitton show in Miami's Marine Stadium was packed with hundreds of the brand's top-spending (mostly local) clients, all of whom were decked out in flashy monogram getups and LV logo accessories.

It coincided with the opening of Louis Vuitton's first standalone men's store in the US (and second in the world) in the city's Design District to kick off Art Basel. But Sunday's tragic news of Virgil Abloh's passing gave the proceedings an entirely new meaning. Abloh's close collaborators like Kanye West, Nigo and Matthew Williams all flew in for the event, which wound up turning into a tribute show in his honor (Abloh's wife reportedly gave the OK to carry on as planned).

Before the fashion show commenced, Louis Vuitton CEO Michael Burke gave an emotional speech about Abloh's influence and legacy (he and Abloh had spoken about the show just the day before he passed). 72 looks from the brand's Spring 2022 men's collection, which debuted via a short film in June, walked out afterwards plus 10 additional looks created for the occasion. Kid Cudi, Offset and Quavo also walked the show.

The mood was poignant and at times somber, especially after the LV men's design time walked out for the finale and fireworks lit up the sky. ("Virgil Was Here" was also spelled out in the sky via drones.) After many long hugs were exchanged, guests walked around the back passing a three-story statue of Virgil and a hot air balloon with the LV logo for the afterparty where Erykah Badu, Kaytranada and Kid Cudi performed.

WWD released Abloh's last interview just before the show took place, which summed up the collection as a whole: "The collection is founded in a desire to erase the unconscious biases connected with certain dress codes based on the way society programs us to think growing up," he said. "We’re framing that premise in symbolism native to the idea of boyhood, an ideology that continues to be part of the Louis Vuitton men’s practice. Recurring elements like paper planes and hot air balloons pertain to this notion: the unspoiled imagination of a child, who dreams of flying. It’s a metaphor for possibility and open-mindedness, and our need to reconnect with those instincts on a big scale.

Watch the whole thing, below.

Photography: Mario Abad