PARIS — The first items from Virgil Abloh’s debut men’s collection for Louis Vuitton have dropped at pop-up stores in London and Shanghai. The French luxury house opted for a stealth launch, apparently in a bid to avoid the kinds of crowds that routinely turn out for streetwear drops by brands such as Supreme.
The Shanghai pop-up ran at Columbia Circle in Shanghai from Oct. 19 until Monday, while the temporary store in London, located at 30 Bruton Street in the tony Mayfair district, also opened on Friday and runs until Oct. 25, a spokeswoman for the brand said.
As in Shanghai, the 2,000-square foot space in London — a storefront formerly occupied by Stella McCartney — is open by appointment only, with customers required to book via the web site ticketing.louisvuitton.com.
The store is based on the two central themes of Abloh’s debut show in June: the classic Hollywood musical “The Wizard of Oz,” and the concept of white light hitting a prism and separating into a rainbow spectrum of colors.
Visitors enter the town house and are directed up a staircase via a yellow brick road. Walls are covered in a print showing Dorothy, the central character from “The Wizard of Oz” played by Judy Garland, dreaming in a field of poppies.
Clothes are displayed in a transparent box printed with the LV monogram in a rainbow of colors, reminiscent of the color gradient runway that Abloh set up in the Palais-Royal Garden in Paris in June, for a show that was hailed as marking a watershed in the intersection of streetwear and luxury.
Abloh, who in four years went from launching the streetwear label Off-White to heading the men’s division of the world’s biggest luxury brand, at the time likened his journey to that of the “farm girl from the Midwest transported to Oz, a fairy-tale land where she experiences things beyond the reach of her imagination.”
Items on display include a range of ready-to-wear from tailoring to hoodies, shoes and multicolored accessories. Among the leather goods on offer are a new version of the Christopher backpack in natural leather, as well as new styles such as the Monogram Soft Trunk and Utility Side Bag in embossed Monogram Taurillon.
Some items are available for immediate purchase, and others for preordering, the spokeswoman said. Further pop-up stores are planned in New York and Tokyo in mid-January, with the full collection reaching Vuitton stores worldwide on Jan. 18.
Abloh celebrated the pre-launch in London on Friday with celebrities including Idris Elba, Rami Malek, Rita Ora and Frank Ocean. After a cocktail at the pop-up, he hosted an intimate dinner at the Chiltern Firehouse, where Kenny Dixon Jr., aka Moodymann, played a DJ set.
In an Instagram post, Abloh indicated it was the first of a series of Luxury Sound Design club nights he has curated with fellow DJ Benji B. At the end of each night, guests receive a commemorative Vuitton T-shirt featuring a world map with a crystal on the location where the event took place — the ultimate collector’s item.