Inside The ‘Louis Vuitton And Nike Air Force 1 By Virgil Abhloh’ Exhibit
The late Louis Vuitton designer’s 47 bespoke AF1 designs are scattered across a maze of brutalist concrete and holographic displays in a new art exhibition.
This week, fans of late style visionary Virgil Abloh can embark on a public art scavenger hunt across New York City to celebrate the release of nine new Nike Air Force 1 editions the Men’s Art Director at Louis Vuitton designed just before his untimely passing last year.
The French fashion house recently installed seven globe sculptures emblazoned with graphic Louis Vuitton logos in community hubs across the Big Apple including Domino Park, Grand Central, South Street Seaport, Astor Place, Columbus Circle, Flatiron Plaza and Gansevoort Plaza. “The globe is representative of the unifying motifs Virgil Abloh reiterated in his collections, shows and imagery,” a release from Louis Vuitton states.
All seven sculptures center around a large-scale immersive exhibition titled Louis Vuitton and Nike ‘Air Force 1’ by Virgil Abloh, which displays the full line of 47 never-before-seen Air Force 1s imagined by Abloh last summer in both virtual and physical forms. On view to the public at the Greenpoint Terminal Warehouse in Brooklyn through May 31, the haute couture experience offers an all-out homage to Abloh’s mind—along with incredible photo opps.
“The expansive showcase charts the creative dialogue between Nike and Louis Vuitton,” LV’s release states. Abloh originally envisioned these 47 designs while planning his Spring-Summer 2022 menswear collection for Louis Vuitton, which would have also coincided with the 40th anniversary of the iconic Air Force 1s—first launched by Nike in 1982.
A towering orange sculpture of an inverted breakdancer marks the spot, just outside the exhibition’s entrance. Inside, leave your stuff at the mandatory bag check and traverse an LV-emblazoned hallway which opens up on a high fashion alternate universe.
Real-life iterations of all 47 sneakers accompanied by moving holographic displays that dance across a maze of brutalist concrete structures emblazoned in neon with Abloh’s most famous adages. “What is myth and what is reality?” one wall asks.
Are you in heaven? That depends if you’re capable of suspending disbelief. “The designer consistently challenged his audiences to imagine a world beyond manmade limitations,” notes LV’s release. “Employing fashion as a tool for change, he wanted people to reconnect with their childlike outlook, and construct a culture devoid of preconceived notions of human and material worth.”
Honoring that spirit of wonder, an actual treehouse soars above this sneaker city–replete with a Louis Vuitton tire swing. Ascend the winding staircase and put yourself in the storied designer’s own proverbial shoes, exploring “exact detail spaces from the Louis Vuitton studio and atelier he furnished on Rue du Pont-Neuf in Paris.”
“As a high fashion designer born out of a streetwear community shaped by hip-hop, Virgil Abloh erased the borders between the two spheres and used his platform to celebrate the historical influence of Black subcultures on mainstream fashion,” LV says. “His work was, above all, about humanity and unity.”
From low tops to high tops, classic LV Damier to colorways honoring the Ghanian and French flags—Abloh’s two mother cultures—take a step into what could’ve been, and honor the man who continues to make his mark on our world even after leaving it.