Life in lockdown prompted many people to reconnect with the comforts of childhood. While some turned to coloring books and puzzles, Virgil Abloh dreamed up a colorful crew of imaginary friends. His cartoon pals first made their debut in “The Adventures of Zoooom with Friends,” a short film that premiered during Digital Paris Fashion Week last summer. The film introduced the ragtag team of critters as they bounced around Paris and stowed away in Louis Vuitton shipping containers—which eventually docked in Shanghai, forming the backdrop for Abloh’s Spring-Summer 2021 runway show. Now, they’re back as playful embellishments in Louis Vuitton’s latest accessories collection.
While cartoon characters might not seemingly jibe with one of the foremost purveyors of grown-up luxury, they’re in keeping with the theme of boyhood that’s run throughout all of Abloh’s work for Vuitton. Certainly, they imbue the brand’s signature styles with a hefty dose of whimsy. We don’t quite understand the characters’ backstories, but how much sense can you make of cartoons? They’re fun—something we could all use now.
Vuitton’s usual bag suspects, like the Keepall, Speedy, and Soft Trunk, all make appearances in the new range, but this time with some eye-catching hangers-on. The Keepall Pouch, for example, has the signature LV monogram with one of the characters stitched on as an embroidered patch. Other pieces, like a white leather wallet, feature figures that have been painted on. These are our Zoooom friends at their subtlest.
At the other end of the spectrum are bags that, to put it plainly, are $4,000 stuffed animals. Plushies not your style? While we can’t picture ourselves toting these around, we can imagine Tyler, The Creator or A$AP Rocky rocking these (“Bad attitude, this ain’t a purse, it’s a satchel”). Certainly Offset and Cardi B’s well-accessorized daughter. As limited editions, there’s a good argument to be made for them as collector’s items—nothing to sneeze at considering that luxury handbags are now outperforming art at auction.
Plushies aside, the collection does offer plenty of pieces that manage to be wearable with a wink: colorful beaded bracelets, checkered anagram belts and Millionaire Sunglasses in black and white. And of course, the Abloh’s coveted LV Trainer kicks see a refresh.
If you do opt to make a statement with these pieces, perhaps the best place to show them off is at a “Walk In The Park”. The immersive exhibition is an outdoor experience that includes larger-than-life balloons of “Zoooom with Friends” characters (natch), bespoke LV shipping containers, over-the-top window displays and more. After debuting in Miami, the curation is headed to Atlanta, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Mexico City. But if you can’t make it, the brand’s recent fall menswear show proved that Abloh has no shortage of fantastical ideas in store for the future.