Louis Vuitton to Go, a New Kyoto Hotel and More

Louis Vuitton to Go, a New Kyoto Hotel and More

Louis Vuitton to Go, a New Kyoto Hotel and More

Louis Vuitton’s Performance Clothes — for Tomorrow

Virgil Abloh, the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear, is nothing if not intellectually nimble. He trained as an architect and has worked as a D.J., artist, musician and Kanye West whisperer. When it comes to fashion, his references are equally wide-ranging, and he’s proved as likely to send trench coats and pleated pants down the runway as mesh tees and floral harnesses. With his latest capsule collection, he’s baked versatility into individual pieces. Included in the 14-item line, called Louis Vuitton 2054 (the year the brand will turn 200), is a shirt that turns into a pillow, a weekend bag that morphs into a sleeping bag and a coat that doubles as a backpack. It was, according to Abloh, an exercise in rethinking the nature of apparel and what the future of fashion will be. He arrived at his answer — technical and transformable — after looking at collapsible camping equipment. “I was very much inspired by the materials and folding ingenuity that exists in that world of products,” Abloh said, in comments emailed by the brand. Indeed, folding is an integral component in experiencing these multifunctional items: The shirt, papery nylon with removable arms and plexiglass zipper pulls, can be tucked into its own back pocket, and the sleeping bag rolls out of the side compartment of an oversize lambskin duffel.

These days, of course, imagining the future can be a grim undertaking, and technical ware feels imbued with a sharper survivalist edge. But Abloh seems optimistic. What first appears as a somber, no-nonsense palette reveals splashes of rainbow-colored camouflage — a glossy nylon puffer scarf, for instance, is black on one side and tie-dye-like on the other. The designer also retains faith in the relationship between man and nature. The muse for the collection was someone who “actively engages with the outdoors,” he said. That’s not the sort of client apt to shut themselves away, and why should it be, given Louis Vuitton’s origins as a luggage company? Though here Abloh has foregone stacks of trunks to send a different message: For maximum agility, and for the sake of our planet, it’s best to travel light. — KATE GUADAGNINO