Artistic director Virgil Abloh has taken digital fashion productions to a new level with “Amen Break,” a nearly 17-minute film celebrating Louis Vuitton’s Spring/Summer 2022 collection.
“Amen Break” is a full-on cinematic experience honoring the Black art, culture, hip hop and music that has made waves throughout the world. Symbolizing life’s challenging journey, Abloh focuses on those who have faced challenges to fight for others by breaking boundaries and setting new standards.
It is often the things that go unnoticed that are making the largest difference. Recorded by the funk-soul group the Winstons in 1969, “Amen Break” is the most sampled drum break that has become an essential part of hip-hop and jungle, along with providing the base of many other tracks. The track is a perfect metaphor for how something so culturally profound can go unnoticed and uncredited by history. Focusing on the theme of transmission and culture, the collection reflects on pivotal moments of Black culture, paying them their due respect.
Directed by Mahfuz Sultan, the film features Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA, Goldie, Saul Williams and many other creatives, and the symbolic storytelling goes beyond the production. Each piece in the collection reflects a moment in history where motifs from Black culture set the stage for new eras of creativity throughout the world. From chess-inspired patterns to rave gear, not a single detail goes without meaning.
“I very much appreciated those narratives about how martial arts spreads across different cultures and becomes something new wherever it lands, and that was key,” Abloh is quoted in Vogue. “Diversity represents highlighting other cultures, not just my own—and making space to share those. The things we’ve seen in the pandemic regarding Black culture and Asian culture, to me, are enough to make me want to keep diversity at the forefront of how I think about what fashion is today.”
The ominous show opener introduces the alternate, metaphorical universe. From simple grey suits to multi-patterned looks, the collection plays with opposites starting with the mixture of streetwear and formal attire. Skirts, kilts, tracksuits, dress shirts and t-shirts are decorated with a variety of face coverings, embroidered gloves, animal-printed clasps and rave-inspired sunglasses. The primary color palette was contrasted with a series of neons inspired by rave culture, and a series of checkered-inspired designs were displayed on skirts and hats.
“That very much fits into my overarching ethos about boyhood. They’re navigating through these landscapes and through the chess game—the turmoil of it,” Abloh said. “It’s just metaphoric: parent and offspring, the layer of protection that’s needed in uncertainty.”
See the collections full film production “Amen Break” below, a read more about the Louis Vuitton Men’s Spring/Summer 2022 Ready-to-Wear collection via Vogue.