On July 9, Louis Vuitton announced that it is planning to reimagine the traditional concept of fashion shows for its Spring 2021 men’s collection by launching an animated film followed by live touring runway shows to follow. Shanghai was chosen as the first stop for the runway series, which will debut on August 6 of that year. The collection, which is titled Message in a Bottle, will be showcased via physical presentations while each episode is livestreamed to global audiences.
In addition to its seasonless and itinerant innovations, the new model will also highlight more active coordination between the house’s Paris headquarters and its regional offices. As Michael Burke, the chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton said in his Zoom interview with WWD: “[This model] is a lot more modern way of working because the Chinese team is going to find the venue, co-design the event with Virgil, produce it, and the models are going to all be Chinese.” Under the creative direction of Virgil Abloh, the house hopes to leverage digital opportunities by challenging the hierarchy structure of the fashion show and pushing it toward a more inclusive and global future.
Even though Burke didn’t directly address the importance of the region during his interview with WWD, China’s market is more important than ever for Louis Vuitton in today’s post-COVID-19 climate. That is due to China being one of the few countries that have seen an early recovery from the pandemic. But this moment is also crucial because Chinese luxury shoppers now tend to invest in domestic consumption rather than international shopping trips because of prolonged travel restrictions and constraints on the market's unique daigou business.
More importantly, the hybridization of the luxury and streetwear markets, which has blown up since Abloh took over the house’s artistic helm in 2018, resonates very well with the country’s younger generations. The recent drop of the NIGO x Virgil Abloh LV² collection sold out via the brand’s WeChat boutique, proving the approach aligns perfectly with China’s hypebeasts. As the fashion world dives into various online channels, will the newness and accessibility of this model still be able to lure in digital-savvy consumers? And what will its runway shows mean to these regional markets? The first installment of Louis Vuitton’s physical presentation in Shanghai will help answer many of these questions.
The Jing Take reports on a piece of the leading news and presents our editorial team’s analysis of the key implications for the luxury industry. In the recurring column, we analyze everything from product drops and mergers to heated debate sprouting on Chinese social media.