Louis Vuitton’s Performance Clothes — for Tomorrow
Virgil Abloh, the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s men’s wear, is nothing if not intellectually nimble. He trained as an architect and has worked as a D.J., artist, musician and Kanye West whisperer. When it comes to fashion, his references are equally wide-ranging, and he’s proved as likely to send trench coats and pleated pants down the runway as mesh tees and floral harnesses. With his latest capsule collection, he’s baked versatility into individual pieces. Included in the 14-item line, called Louis Vuitton 2054 (the year the brand will turn 200), is a shirt that turns into a pillow, a weekend bag that morphs into a sleeping bag and a coat that doubles as a backpack. It was, according to Abloh, an exercise in rethinking the nature of apparel and what the future of fashion will be. He arrived at his answer — technical and transformable — after looking at collapsible camping equipment. “I was very much inspired by the materials and folding ingenuity that exists in that world of products,” Abloh said, in comments emailed by the brand. Indeed, folding is an integral component in experiencing these multifunctional items: The shirt, papery nylon with removable arms and plexiglass zipper pulls, can be tucked into its own back pocket, and the sleeping bag rolls out of the side compartment of an oversize lambskin duffel.
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These days, of course, imagining the future can be a grim undertaking, and technical ware feels imbued with a sharper survivalist edge. But Abloh seems optimistic. What first appears as a somber, no-nonsense palette reveals splashes of rainbow-colored camouflage — a glossy nylon puffer scarf, for instance, is black on one side and tie-dye-like on the other. The designer also retains faith in the relationship between man and nature. The muse for the collection was someone who “actively engages with the outdoors,” he said. That’s not the sort of client apt to shut themselves away, and why should it be, given Louis Vuitton’s origins as a luggage company? Though here Abloh has foregone stacks of trunks to send a different message: For maximum agility, and for the sake of our planet, it’s best to travel light. — KATE GUADAGNINO
Where Form Meets Function
The pair behind the conceptual furniture collective Green River Project met two years ago while working in New York’s art world: Aaron Aujla was an artist’s assistant and painter, and Benjamin Bloomstein was an art handler and craftsman. One of their first clients was their friend Michael Bargo, an interior designer whose 2,000-square-foot Chinatown apartment doubles as a design gallery. In the main room, there are displays of arresting and rare midcentury pieces — like a 1950s-era Alexandre Noll wooden cross sculpture and a Pierre Chareau steel-and-brass side table from the 1920s — that are his only until he sells them.
The loft’s one uninspiring space was, Bargo felt, the generic contemporary kitchen, so he called Aujla and Bloomstein for help. For inspiration, the designers looked to the modular color-block kitchen that Charlotte Perriand and Le Corbusier conceived for Unité d’Habitation — a 1940s social-housing project in Marseille, France — finding themselves particularly drawn to a pair of chunky wooden handles on an upper cabinet. They hand-carved a 15-piece series of sculptural handles and pulls from African mahogany, cherry, ebony and black hyedua — one is fluted like a trumpet, while several others echo the undulating totems of Constantin Brancusi — and affixed a 10-inch set to a fridge that they paneled with black- and Bauhaus-red-colored Formica. It stands to the side of an aluminum-edged Douglas-fir island and a pair of wooden bar stools with crescent-shaped seats, also carved by hand. The kitchen, as well as free-standing versions of the hardware and two Green River Project perforated aluminum sconces, will soon go on view at Bargo’s apartment-cum-gallery. “We want people to experience high-level craftsmanship on a daily basis in their home,” says Aujla. — AHNNA LEE
A New Kyoto Hotel, Complete With Its Own Forest
The Aman hotel group has long upheld the Japanese architectural principle that buildings should be in harmony with their natural environments, but that thinking is especially evident at its latest location — a secluded eight-acre garden-within-a-forest at the base of Kyoto’s Mount Hidari Daimonji. “It’s all about the grounds,” says the designer, Justin Hill, which are accessed via an ancient copper gate and include a large main lawn, naturally occurring streams and moss-covered stone walkways surrounded by dense plots of Japanese maple and cedar trees. The land likely inspired members of the Rinpa school, an Edo-period art movement that encouraged a resurgence of indigenous techniques and motifs, and once belonged to a textile collector and amateur landscape designer. Now, it encompasses 11 slatted stained-cedar pavilions housing 24 rooms and two two-bedroom suites between them, though on a recent visit, Hill was pleased to find that the pavilions are difficult to photograph: “They almost disappear into the landscape,” he says.
Inside, the structures allude to a classic ryokan, with tatami mats, orb-shaped lanterns, hinoki tubs and tokonoma, or wall niches, here used to display local pottery. Instead of paper screens (“We wanted to pay tribute to Japanese design, not mimic it,” says Hill), there are blond wood wall panels and sliding doors, as well as floor-to-ceiling windows that offer verdant views. The hotel restaurant serves kaiseki, seasonal multicourse meals, and guests can experience other local customs by soaking in the open-air onsen or venturing past the garden’s edge for meditative hikes known as shinrin-yoku, or forest bathing. — AMELIA LESTER
Mini Market: Childlike Jewelry
Candy-colored pieces reminiscent of the craft table and princess games.
Clockwise from top left: Irene Neuwirth necklace, price on request, ireneneuwirth.com. Carolina Bucci bracelet, $630, carolinabucci.com. Taffin necklace, price on request, (212) 421-6222. Marie-Hélène de Taillac ring, $4,900, (212) 249-0371. Brent Neale necklace, $35,000, (205) 871-6747. Bea Bongiasca ring, $1,500, modaoperandi.com. Paul Morelli cuff, $22,000, paulmorelli.com.
Easy-to-Pack Wrap Sandals
Twisting delicately up the calf, these strappy staples are a playful update on the Greek classic.
Top row from left: Celine by Hedi Slimane sandals, $940, (212) 226-8001. Ancient Greek Sandals, $305, shopbop.com. Ulla Johnson sandals, $395, ullajohnson.com. Bottega Veneta sandals, $1,190, bottegaveneta.com. Missoni sandals, $915, missoni.com.
Bottom row from left: Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello sandals, $595, ysl.com. Dondoks Paris sandals, $285, dondoks.com. Etro sandals, $440, (212) 317-9096. Manolo Blahnik for Carolina Herrera sandals, price on request, (212) 249-6552. Jil Sander sandals, $550, barneys.com.
Art Deco Blooms Anew
The Art Deco style — a geometric update of late 19th century Art Nouveau flourishes, recast through the machine-made polish of European Futurism — emerged soon after the end of World War I. But it wasn’t until a few years later, in 1925, that the seminal movement coalesced with the legendary Paris Exposition Internationale des Arts Décoratifs et Industriels Modernes. Giorgio Armani, the endlessly entrepreneurial 85-year-old fashion designer whose Asian-tinged minimalism has made its own mark on the culture over nearly five decades, references the period often, especially in his Privé collection of couture-level evening clothes. Thus, it makes elegant sense that his first haute joaillerie collection would nod to the spare yet bold simplicity and primary colors of Art Deco. These cascading earrings are made of white gold (common in the 1920s as an alternative to platinum), coral, diamonds, sapphires and rubies — a glamorous yet unfussy fusion of the then and now. Price on request, (212) 988-9191. — NANCY HASS
The Return of a Futurist Classic
The Kentucky-born architect and designer Paul Rudolph, widely considered a spiritual father of American Brutalism — the mid-20th-century movement of raw concrete and obstinate minimalism — never put a premium on comfort. Instead, Rudolph, whose best-known projects are Halston’s much-photographed white-on-white Upper East Side townhouse in Manhattan and Yale’s School of Architecture building (he was chairman of the department when it was built in 1963), championed machine-made materials and modularity. Rarely able to find appropriate furniture, he designed custom pieces. His Rolling chair, created in 1968 for his own Beekman Place apartment, is now for sale by Modulightor, the retail lighting firm that Rudolph, who died in 1997, co-founded in the mid-1970s. Made of steel and plexiglass with casters, its parts are interchangeable with several of his other seats and tables that the company manufactures. Echoing the uncompromising angularity of earlier European purists, among them the architects Gerrit Rietveld and Le Corbusier, the armchair eschews quotidian cushiness for transparent provocation. $3,450, modulightor.com. — NANCY HASS
Of a Kind: Joseph Altuzarra’s Owls
Four years ago, the Paris-born, New York-based fashion designer Joseph Altuzarra received his first good-luck charm from his mother, Karen. Just before his spring 2016 show, she gave him a small brass owl she found at an arcade in Florence, Italy. Every show since, she has presented Altuzarra with another owl. “I used to love the bird as a child and would draw them constantly,” he says. “My mom says owls remind her of me — they are always observing the world.”
His collection now consists of 16 miniatures, which Altuzarra’s mother has found on her travels across Asia, California and Europe, from toy stores in Paris to a cast-iron merchant in Kyoto, Japan. The 36-year-old designer keeps them in a small black box on his desk or on a nearby bookshelf so that “they’re always within view.” In early 2020, Altuzarra will be featured as a judge alongside Naomi Campbell, Nicole Richie and his muse Carine Roitfeld in Amazon Prime Video’s new fashion competition series “Making the Cut.” — JOHN WOGAN