There's still one more thing we need to sort out, in fashion. At some point in the timeline of high-end creativity, the fashion establishment declared that the golden age of streetwear was over and done. Fortunately, or not, it seems like this prediction hasn’t come true and there is currently an ode to streetwear raising from everywhere: from Virgil Abloh's latest collection for Louis Vuitton menswear to the deal between Aimé Leon Dore and Lvmh, through to Nigo's debut at Kenzo and, in a way, even from the Gmbh duo’s new chapter at Trussardi. Then how can we forget Matthew William's new path at Givenchy - by the way, when's his first haute couture collection coming up? - or the more recent appointment of Rhuigi Villaseñor as creative director of the Swiss brand Bally, whose first collection will be shown during the spring/summer 2023 presentations.
Streetwear is dead
Going back in time, it was the King Midas of luxury streetwear, Virgil Abloh, who made this kind of prediction at the end of 2019 during an interview with Emma Hope Allwood of Dazed, using words that resonated like a very bad omen. "What do you think will happen to the idea of streetwear in the 2020s?" was the question. Straight to the point was Abloh's answer: “Wow. I would definitely say it's gonna die, you know? Like, its time will be up. In my mind, how many more t-shirts can we own, how many more hoodies, how many trainers?" Oh, my gosh. Amazingly, one of the most interesting and weirdest aspects of fashion is that it often contradicts itself in order to evolve and step up. And under the shield of a magical concept like "reinterpretation," fashion doesn't contradict itself at all, actually. Why do I say that? After a short time, Abloh, in charge of the creative direction of Louis Vuitton menswear collections until his passing, launched a collaboration with Nigo, the DJ and creator behind a streetwear cult brand named Bape-A Bathing Ape. So, Virgil Abloh spoke to Nicole Phelps of Vogue, referring to his earlier interview: "I didn't say it to be polarising. I think that in the context of this conversation with Nigo – if you speak to anyone that's been in streetwear for the last 15 years – it's always had this sort of nine lives, dying and coming back, and dying and coming back," said the designer. "Partially what I meant that "it will die" is that new things like tailoring from guys like Nigo and me will be born from the regeneration of it.” And so it was.
Long live streetwear
Virgil Abloh's latest runway show for Louis Vuitton was imbued with streetwear. Actually, it was kind of Abloh’s creative testament who also gave a path to follow for the future of the LV maison – Vuitton CEO Michel Burke declared that the appointment of a successor would take time, ndr. Moreover, a few days after that catwalk, Nigo – who had continued to collaborate with LV on a second LV2 collection launched in 2021 – showed his first f-w 22/23 collection for Kenzo, another brand in the LVMH portfolio. A star-studded audience cheered and applauded for the founder of Bape: from Pharrell Williams to Dr. Woo, Gunna, Pusha T, Tyler, The Creator and Kanye West accompanied by Julia Fox. Another goal for Lvmh – although it was much questioned in terms of design… but hey, according to Tagwalk, Kenzo is now the first name in the designer's global ranking based on the average traffic from 14/01 to 27/01: not bad at all. To be fair, the spotlight was already on LVMH's renewed streetwear spirit: last year the company raised its stake in Off-White LLC, the trademark owner of Abloh's Off-White brand, to 60 percent. Moreover, a few days before Nigo’s first show at Kenzo, the group acquired a minority stake in Teddy Santis' streetwear label, Aimé Leon Dore. And on the same day, Bally appointed Rhude founder Rhuigi Villaseñor as its new creative director. To quote the late Virgil Abloh, which of the nine lives of streetwear have we come into? And what will this new life be like without Abloh as its leader?