Esquire Examines: Louis Vuitton AW24 Menswear

It hasn't snowed yet during Paris Fashion Week Men's, but opening the season, Pharrell Williams brought some snow and a bit of that desert heat for an Autumn/Winter 2024 collection that was as exciting as the soundtrack
Published: 17 January 2024

While writing this review, "Good People" by Mumford & Sons and Pharrell Williams is playing on Spotify. Ever since the song was played as part of Louis Vuitton's Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear runway show soundtrack, it's been stuck in my head ever since. A stirring rhythm made perfect by Mumford & Sons' signature musicality, it was one of four original songs Williams worked together with other musicians to amplify the mood of the show. "Good People" is the only one that has been released on streaming platforms.

Lest we forget, multi-hyphenate Williams has had an accomplished music career for decades now. As a producer, he was responsible for some of the greatest, most addictive hits—from Usher's "U Don't Have to Call" to Camila Cabello's "Havana". Williams knows that the music is just as important as the collection walking down the runway. "Good People"'s country-esque undertones and marching beat felt rousing as models walked fast in the makeshift showspace right next to Fondation Louis Vuitton.

And just like how he'd collaborated with a number of artists for the soundtrack, the Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2024 collection was also an amalgamation of many different cultures and aspects of his home state of Virginia. The overarching Americana-themed collection saw plenty of cowboy-inspired looks with American Western motifs and silhouettes running rampant throughout. They were added with touches by both the Dakota and Lakota nations—not only in the accessories, but also the staging of the show and soundtrack.

The collaborations didn't stop there. The runway show debuted a collaboration with American brand Timberland. Some of the work boots were housed within clear plexiglass and Monogram canvas Louis Vuitton trunks carried by models like prized possessions—these are set to be limited editions. There were a few iterations of the Timberland x Louis Vuitton collaborations and they're crafted by the team at Louis Vuitton's Italian ateliers.

The role of a creative director is more than just about designing. It's about bringing together multiple ideas, streamlining them, at times editing them, and ensuring that everything feels cohesive. Williams has had decades of practice albeit not as long within the fashion realm, but the man clearly knows his stuff. And this third outing with the maison proves it.

The fit: Part-cowboy and part-American workwear, the entire Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection were essentially reworked updates on classic American Western tropes. Tailoring—a segment that Williams has excelled in with Louis Vuitton—made use of boot-cuts and flares with a bodice that was proportionally slim. When they were not rendered in variations of the camouflage Monogram, they were decorated with fine embellishments and at times, Dakota flower motifs in stunning placements.

While some looks may border on the side of being a tad too costume-y, the entire collection felt more like contemporary reimaginings of American Western clichés designed to be wearable and elevated. Cowboy buckle belts for example, were branded with Vuitton in the maison's signature scripts with other versions displaying a more craft-centric approach. And the styling too was quite enjoyable to see as these classic tropes came together in all their warm, dessert-like hues.

The details: It'd be remiss of me to talk about a Louis Vuitton collection without mentioning the bags. The classic Steamer was reintroduced in three sizes, including a massive 65-cm silhouette that was hard to miss out on as it made its way down the runway. The massive Steamer could easily fit a cabin-sized luggage inside of it. There were Speedy affixed with gems and others designed in new forms, including a studded saddle version.

What caught my eyes the most were the worn out treatment of the Monogram canvas. Rendered to look as though the bags themselves have been baked in the sun for a long time, creating a beautiful light patina along the sides.

Three exceptional looks: Look 13's play on the flamboyant nuances of American Western ensembles, with a flared trim around the torso; everything about look 28 from the all-white suit with abstract prints and contrasted with that bold, in-your-face Speedy; and the closing look of a leather Monogram suiting crafted to perfection.

The takeaway: Louis Vuitton may have indeed found the right person to continue to evolve Louis Vuitton into more than just a luxury fashion brand.

View the full Louis Vuitton Autumn/Winter 2024 menswear collection in the gallery below.

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