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After last season’s now-legendary collaborative collection with Supreme, and yesterday’s announcement that Drake would be soundtracking today’s show, the hype around Louis Vuitton’s SS18 collection has been infectious.

Keep reading on for our “haute-take” on everything that went down at the show, including our collection highlights, that fiery Drake track, the best accessories, and our verdict.

The Highlights

For SS18, Kim Jones, the artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton, has managed to conjure an entire collection all fabricated from the aesthetic notion of “island life”. In the show notes, Jones explains, “I was inspired by the idea of an island and of travel. Of moving easily from place to place, and experiencing these different pockets of civilization, these different ideas simultaneously”.

And it shows. The collection fuses a collage of signature Hawaiian aesthetics like the Aloha shirt and even puka shell necklaces, embossed croc leather, technical outdoor gear inspired by everything from trekking and climbing to fishing in the mountains, alongside easy, breezy surf-inspired looks, dusted with plenty of scuba suits and stretch sportswear.

The highlights were undoubtedly when these disparate aesthetic references were whipped into something wholly unlikely. Take the wide-cut Aloha button-down shirts in watercolor tropical prints for example. Or the sandals that look like a shotgun wedding between a clunky clog, an utterly ugly hiking boot, and a simple sandal. After all, ugly sneakers are all the rage, so why not sandals, too?

But most notably, it was Louis Vuitton’s new graphic logo treatment that signaled Jones’ streetwear influences were enduring. The Louis Vuitton logo was reimagined as a sports team slogan, and deftly printed in acidic colorways across sweaters, T-shirts and even scuba-zips.

That Drake Jam

A few minutes into the show, the mood turned from an airy slow-jam to a boppy dancehall-inflected beat that could only be courtesy of Mr. Champagne Papi. Plenty of attendees could be seen nodding, swaying, and foot-tapping in their seat while watching Louis Vuitton’s procession of primped and preened models.

Drake specially composed the track, called “Signs,” for Louis Vuitton and it was officially announced by the rapper on Instagram last night.

“New song inspired by @louisvuitton @mrkimjones new collection ? Drake x LV premieres tmrw produced by @ovo40,” he wrote.

New song inspired by @louisvuitton @mrkimjones new collection ? Drake x LV premieres tmrw produced by @ovo40

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If you’re desperate to massage your auditory senses to Drake’s latest, you can play it back on Louis Vuitton’s runway feed here.

The Best Accessories

If there was a thread of continuity from last season’s steamy affair with Supreme, then it was seen with the savage return of Louis Vuitton logomania. The iconic monogram was rehashed in almost every accessory, and elegant leather LV bags were surgically imposed with trail-trek aesthetics, keeping true to Kim Jones’s obsession with juxtaposition.

Alongside duffel bags, bucket bags, backpacks, and card-holders, Kim Jones gave the trending side-bag some showtime too in the traditional LV brown shot with a new injection of cobalt blue.

LV SS18 #pfw #menswear #show #showtime #louisvuitton #prints very special thx @mrkimjones @edwardcrutchley

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Of course, the most subversive accessory of Louis Vuitton’s latest feat had to be the puka shell necklace. While it’s probably true that Kim Jones couldn’t have faithfully mined Hawaiian aesthetics without bringing back the Puka, it remains to be seen whether this accessory will gain any traction among the street style set.

Once synonymous with campus bros and foolish surfer wannabees, this scratchy necklace has long been retired to the graveyard of fashion fads, despite even Prada trying to resurrect the shell necklace at its FW17 show.

The Famous Faces

#VirgilAbloh attends the #LouisVuitton men's show in Paris today. #LVMenSS18 show. #PFW | Photo by @maximsap x FASHIONTOMAX.COM

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Our Verdict

As per usual, Kim Jones proves how deft he is translating wide-ranging cultural references without ever treading on anything remotely pastiche or offensive. It’s yet another collection that proves streetwear and luxury fashion are the same thing, fusing Louis Vuitton’s modern, technical roots with plenty of trending sportswear references. While it’s still far removed from the brand’s previous collab with Supreme, at least it’s an organic mutation, proving Jones’s love for streetwear is faithful.

For more SS18 fashion coverage, here’s everything that went down at Balenciaga’s latest show.

Words by Kam Dhillon
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