“Ms Lauryn Hill is, to me, forever a muse,” says Virgil Abloh on the release of the cinematic Spring/Summer 2021 film
Louis Vuitton has shared a 21-minute live set from music icon Lauryn Hill, which coincides with the house’s Spring/Summer 2021 menswear collection, shown earlier this month in Shanghai, China. “Ms Lauryn Hill created an original recording borne out of wonder, defiant joy, and sonic imagination,” says Virgil Abloh, the artistic director of menswear at Louis Vuitton, on the release of the film. “Ms Lauryn Hill is, to me, forever a muse.”
Directed by Naima Ramos-Chapman, the cinematic black and white short sees Hill perform alongside a band, singing passionate renditions of six songs: Queen & Slim track Guarding The Gates and Black Rage, as well as much-loved classics from her historic 1998 album The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill; Everything is Everything, Lost Ones, Ex Factor, and, of course, Doo Wop (That Thing). Recorded in late July at MLH Studio in New Jersey, Hill appears in a playfully patterned Louis Vuitton ensemble with a strong, 80s-style silhouette.
The film was premiered at Abloh’s Shanghai outing on August 6, appearing on a screen midway through the show. At the event’s conclusion, Hill announced that Abloh and Louis Vuitton would be making a donation to the MLH Foundation “with all proceeds going to Black businesses affected by Covid-19 and other hardships”. Described as “Black imagination manifesting itself in real life,” the fantastical collection – which featured bold tailoring, toy-like accessories and a kaleidoscope of colours and patterns – saw the designer collaborate with a team of Black creatives, including animators, musicians, and British stylist Ibrahim Kamara. “A wonderland of inclusivity and unity, it imagines the world through the untainted vision of a child, not yet spoiled by societal programming,” read the show notes.
Elsewhere, at his Milan-based label Off-White™, Abloh has also recently launched the I Support Young Black Businesses project, a quarterly programme raising funds for organisations chosen by the designer and his team in support of the Black community. Featuring a range of T-shirts and hoodies emblazoned with the ‘I Support Young Black Businesses’ slogan, the initiative sees 100 per cent of proceeds going to the organisation selected, which this quarter is anti-gun violence charity Chicago CRED. Off-White™ has also established an ongoing paid internship program in Milan for young Black people who want to pursue a career in the fashion industry. “Fashion is being held to do something now that is not just a projection of clothes,” said Abloh earlier this month, following the Shanghai show. “There’s a responsibility to show a way forward.”