Virgil Abloh’s final collection for Louis Vuitton, recently restaged in Miami, included more long skirts that was already shown (digitally) in June. Will there be a mad rush to buy them?
These days, they do not need to go by the euphemism kilts. Or in hybrid form, the skort. A skirt is a skirt, and if Louis Vuitton’s latest showing of so many is to be believed, many men are going to be wearing them, if not now, very soon. At the second presentation—finally an IRL show—in Miami of Virgil Abloh’s final collection for Louis Vuitton, skirts were aplenty. We are not merely talking about the odd wrap-overs masquerading as skirts, worn over trousers; we are talking about full-skirted ones, some 28 of them (out of 83 looks shown in the city in Florida). There were even those unmistakably puffed and layered, like those women would wear to a gala event. Only now, men could wear them, with a football jersey. To better play down any overt femininity?
And Mr Abloh did give guys many skirts to choose from in the digital presentation in June. And now they appear ready to be the big story when the next season comes around. Those not yet willing to look like they raided the wardrobe of their sisters/girlfriends have the choice of pieces that look like folds of fabrics or come with vertical drawstrings to break the shape of what would be identifiably a skirt. But those willing to be unambiguous about the non-bifurcated bottoms they wear could opt for the real deal: with gathers or with pleats (they could pass of as part of uniforms for the Japanese partial arts of kendo if you are still unsure), Or, a couple seemingly with petticoats underneath. These are red carpet-ready, even when worn with sneakers, and would no doubt inspire a new generation of male award attendees.
By now, the idea of men in skirts is really no longer shocking or mere rhetoric that would pass. We have seen male cover subjects wearing skirts on magazines and we have seen non-models wearing them on the streets (yes, on Orchard Road!). And we have heard—and read—the frequent reminders that men have, in fact, worn skirts in the past and still do, especially in Southeast Asia, such as the Burmese longyi (they don’t call it a sarong). But a skirt that looks like something your wife wears is still very much absent from an average guy’s—even a hypebeast’s—wardrobe. And will likely remain so for a while. The irony, as we observe, is that more women are forsaking skirts for pant, just as they are increasingly choosing sneakers over high heels, which, conversely, are what some men are enthusiastically adopting.
Virgil Abloh was not the first to think skirts suit men. Jean Paul Gaultier, Alexander McQueen and Rei Kawakubo (Comme des Garçons), just to name three of the early pioneers, have never considered a skirt to be solely for one sex. While gay guys and men extremely comfortable with their feminine side have no qualms about a skirt or two sitting among the pants they own, the majority of the heterosexual male population have totally discounted the skirt as an option, dismissing it as feminine, totally female. Perhaps, Mr Abloh could have changed the course of the discourse if he had the chance to pursue it further. As a cis straight man (as far as we know), he was most likely able to do the convincing. And if the world of Black machismo could be persuaded and assured, perhaps there is hope for the rest of the hordes of refusing men.
Jaden Smith paved the way when he wore an LV skirt from the women’s spring/summer 2016 collection in the brand’s campaign of that season. Many more men have adopted skirts since then. But things may, perhaps, only change significantly if Idris Elba did so, or Jamie Foxx, or Michael B Jordan, And then followed by Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio, or Ryan Renolds. And Hyun Bin, Lee Min Ho, and every one of them from BTS. Then, the rest of the blokes around you. Here, things would truly change if the likes of Terrence Koh, Jamie Chua’s LV-loving boyfriend, would wear any one of those LV skirts just seen in Miami. That would truly be a revolution.
Runway photos: Louis Vuitton. Collage: Just So