It was always expected that Abloh would reference culture in his work at Vuitton. That is what we claimed his cachet was when we discussed his appointment: his ability to tap into the cultural zeitgeist and translate it to clothing. Rather than appropriating and playing with the brand’s iconic logo and monogram—which is something that many thought he would excel at—Abloh set it aside. The cultural references came instead from the production and details composing the show: It starts with the music selection, directed by Benji B, a friend and collaborator; continues on to the diverse cast of models (finally!!); the appearance of the likes of Kid Cudi and Dev Hynes moonlighting as models; the eclectic and star-studded front row; using a radio show recorded in his Louis Vuitton office to tease the upcoming runway show.
Sometimes, by digging in our heels and shouting, we galvanize those who are open to discussion. It’s a vicious cycle where everything becomes polarized and exaggerated and we surround ourselves with what we want to hear.
Eventually we’ll get tired of shouting and we’ll be curious about what the other side has to say — regardless of which ever side you find yourself on. We’ll stop rewarding sensationalized information designed to reinforce our beliefs or spark outrage, and we’ll welcome people who champion balanced dialogue and discourse. But things being what they are these days, some might consider that idea to be extreme, and vehemently oppose it.
Perhaps Nike’s strategy of bringing cool to tennis has run its course and the sport is cool enough on its own for a country club-esque aesthetic to take root in streetwear and fashion. It’s not hard to imagine that as a sort of younger and more luxurious normcore. adidas and Palace are likely to resist the sport in upcoming seasons, at least if the brands’ soccer-centric partnership is any indication. Uniqlo will be banking on tennis for the next decade too—as the Federer news is indicating. Other brands, like Lacoste, Fred Perry, Ellesse, Diadora and Sergio Tacchini—which all enjoyed nice boosts with the soccer and terrace wear craze of the last 18 months—will surely be looking to capitalize on two heavy-hitters putting tennis at the fore.
Most days, I’ve watched from Café Olimpico, a bastion of soccer, yes, but also of diversity, with people from all walks of life stopping in to cheer on their native countries or the teams they’ve adopted. I’ve watched games with an young Iranian man who recently came to Canada, a Colombian family, Peruvian Canadians, a Mauritian Canadian and countless others.
It’s a long-term game, really; but it’s also a confident bet on the inherent appeal of Quebec and its workforce. The underlying message is that if we facilitate things for startups, innovators will love it here. They’ll actually want to learn French, rather than feel as though it’s something they’re being forced to do. As everybody knows, motivated students tend to do best.
In 2008, Jones was appointed creative director of Dunhill and folded his eponymous line to fully focus on the British luxury goods brand. His tenure at Dunhill lasted only three years. In 2011, then-creative director at Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, named Jones style director of the French house’s ready-to-wear menswear line. Since taking over the reigns from Paul Helbers, Jones has enchanted fashion insiders and casual observers alike, earning critical acclaim (including a a bevy of awards) and transforming Louis Vuitton into a conversation-driver in the menswear realm beyond just its leather goods. Jones’ collections at Louis Vuitton have shared some commonalities—travel, for one—but have been tremendously influential in their use of casual streetwear elements to inform a contemporary luxury aesthetic.
Ladies and gentlemen, there is a new Italian Renaissance. For a few years now, Milan’s menswear Fashion Week has devolved into a relative afterthought, with well-established brands like Prada, Fendi, Versace and Dolce & Gabbana drawing crowds seemingly out of habit rather than out of genuine interest. Since being handed over to Alessandro Michele, Gucci has been the outlier among the revered Italian brands, with a timely aesthetic shift and revamped marketing geared towards the conversation-steering millennial consumer. This past week, however, brought about a wind of change for more Italian brands who have—in their own ways—embraced the new face of luxury.
If you hadn’t heard of Nike’s Humara silhouette until word started leaking out that Supreme would be using the model for its newest collaboration, that’s perfectly normal. While the Air Humara—and its successor the Terra Humara—are well known among diehard ACG fans, the silhouette had been largely relegated to the proverbial back-burner, making an appearance every few years in a new color that wasn’t always guaranteed to make it to market. If the model were to have been originally released in 2017, the names associated with the shoe would virtually guarantee an instant hit, but, in a testament to how much has changed in 20 years, the shoe almost didn’t make it to the shelves back in 1998.
We’ll make a brash claim: the most important shoe of all-time is 35 years old, hasn’t changed much over the last three-plus decades, and is best known for it’s monochromatic white and black colorways. It’s a shoe that spawned a technological revolution in the ‘80s, a cultural one in the ‘90s and the concept of “retros.” It rose to international prominence in the 2000s, and has become a fashion flashpoint in the last few years. After more than 2000 iterations, and standing as one of the best-selling athletic shoe of all time, the Air Force 1 is undeniably an icon. But what makes it so special?
If you visit Japan, particularly retail-rich Tokyo, chances are you’ll stumble upon a brand that you’ve previously never heard of. That’s true for fashion aficionados, for their less fashionable parents and even for those who are paid nice salaries to work in the industry. It makes sense that Japan would be such fertile ground for such obscure brands. A massive population confined to a small geographic area has birthed a generation of competing brands in close proximity to one another that struggle to differentiate themselves from the pack and rise to prominence. That being said, with such a large population, do the brands really need to export themselves beyond Japan’s borders? At the same time, European and North American infatuation—at times bordering on fetishism—with lesser-known Japanese brands has encouraged said brands to shroud themselves in mystery, intentionally shying away from press coverage. One brand that has garnered less attention than some of its peers, despite being considered among the nation’s most influential, is Sasquatchfabrix.
The annals of fashion and streetwear are lined with some impressive names, from the Coco Chanels and Yves Saint-Laurent of years past, to the James Jebbias and Virgil Ablohs of today. That being said, few individuals have had the same impact on the way people dress as Pharrell Williams. From the early-2000s until today, Pharrell has had a tangible effect not only on the clothes that we wear, but on how we wear them. What makes Pharrell so unique is the fact that he has impacted not only streetwear —something not uncommon for producers and rappers— but also fashion, and, one could argue, design in general.