Who are these? Do you know these people?” whispered a perplexed veteran makeup artist, as a retinue of twentysomethings posed and preened in front of the plexiglas Louis Vuitton upside-down logo at the French luxury brand’s Greenbelt 4 boutique a fortnight ago.
Louis Vuitton was launching a popup of its Men’s Fall-Winter 2018 Pre-collection, and, like its Solaire boutique opening last year, the crowd was made up largely of millennial celebrities and social media influencers, with just a handful of stylistas in their late 30s to early 50s. A DJ was spinning club music.
“You’re old!” I teased, and he shrugged as we watched the same millennials sip Champagne while perusing the pieces on display.
There were T-shirts and hoodies with the Louis Vuitton Merci motif, pullovers with
the LV upside-down logo, LV Monogram-embossed trousers, seersucker button-downs with Vivienne patchworks, as well as shoes, bags, eyewear and small leathergoods bearing the Vivienne design.
The Vivienne—the brand’s gifting collection’s mascot—design is exclusive to four Southeast Asian markets, and only at the Makati boutique here, until May 25.
The men’s fall pre-collection is Kim Jones’ second to the last for the brand before a new men’s artistic director, Virgil Abloh, takes over.
Abloh, who made his name in luxe streetwear as designer and chief executive of Off-White, will debut at Louis Vuitton for Spring-Summer 2019.
The Chicago-born designer has a cult following among young fashion consumers. His appointment at the malletier seems to be a move to lure the millennial customer, especially since this demographic is said to prefer spending more on experiences than luxury goods.
It remains to be seen if Manila’s young crowd would gravitate more to the brand owing to this development, though at Friday’s launch, the young guests happily snapped up the T-shirts (P38,000) and sweatshirts (P50,000+) from the collection.
The pre-collection launch comes at the heels of Bernard Arnault’s stealth Manila visit in late April, where the chair and chief executive of Moet Hennessy-Louis Vuitton (LVMH) reportedly checked out the Louis Vuitton and Bulgari boutiques in Greenbelt and Solaire. (LVMH, the world’s largest luxury-goods conglomerate, owns the Louis Vuitton and
Rhea de Vera-Aguirre, Louis Vuitton’s general manager for Guam, Saipan and the Philippines, however, declined to comment on Arnault’s visit.
Louis Vuitton carries women’s apparel at the Greenbelt outpost, following its successful pop-up in late 2015. The entire men’s collection, including the pre-collection apparel (save for the Vivienne design), is available at The Shoppes at Solaire.