Beyoncé and Jay-Z were not in attendance at the Louis Vuitton Pre-Autumn 2024 menswear show in Hong Kong as rumoured—nor were Zendaya. There was also no post-runway performance as what we saw during Pharrell Williams' debut show during Paris Fashion Week Men's. But that didn't mean that there was any lack of a "show".
Apart from the occasion being a milestone first for both Louis Vuitton and Williams—it was the first Louis Vuitton show to be held in Hong Kong and its first menswear pre-collection to be staged ever as well as being William's first pre-collection outing—quite a lot was at stake. Williams' debut (as all debuts go) served as an introductory teaser to his vision for the maison. The Louis Vuitton Pre-Autumn 2024 menswear collection was an opportunity to drive down those ideas even further, especially in a more commercial setting.
Less we forget, the pre-collections are conceptually commercial fillers to the main seasonal collections. And by commercial, I mean more accessible (fashion-wise) to the average consumer who perhaps isn't looking to purchase an embellished suit or a head-to-toe Monogram fit. Williams appeared to achieve just that with his 64-strong showcase that, while noticeably pared back as compared to his Spring/Summer 2024 debut, offered a number of more extravagant pieces that tied back to his overarching vision for the maison.
Staged on the Avenue of Stars in view of Hong Kong's cityscape, Louis Vuitton recreated a beach complete with sand and floor-screens that displayed continuous waves of water meeting the "shoreline". Williams took reference from surf culture as well as nautical influences that all point to the moon as an element that binds them all together.
The runway show ended with a parade led by Williams himself. But not before a drone-filled sky took on shapes that alluded to the show's narrative of LVers travelling from Hawaii to Hong Kong—show-stopping enough to gather everyone's attention.
The fit: The Louis Vuitton Pre-Autumn 2024 menswear collection was teeming with surf and nautical references. At its very literal, sailor motifs—flap collars, berets, and Dixie cup hats—were prevalent as running elements throughout. These were then amplified with Hawaiian prints reimagined as a new take of the maison's Monogram motif, appearing on bags, accessories, tailoring, and of course, Hawaiian shirts.
What's quickly becoming key for Williams' Louis Vuitton menswear is tailoring—a surprising approach given his streetwear leanings similar to that of the late Virgil Abloh. While there were a number of streetwear-inspired separates ranging from oversized shirting to mixed-material outerwear, the collection consisted of a heavy emphasis on tailoring. Suits were aplenty and came in a number of iterations and embellishments, and were all finished with mother of pearl buttons. When they're not paired with signature-Williams berms, suit trousers were flared for a decidedly stylish touch.
The most labour-intensive creation came in the form of the closing look's spectacular bomber jacket. Crafted from denim, the entire piece was covered with crystals and pearls depicting Poseidon, fish, florals and water—a nod to the lakes and fisherman of Williams' hometown of Virginia.
The details: Bags and accessories heavily leaned on the nautical spirit of the collection. The most literal were leather charms that took on the forms of sea creatures and were fixed on the collection's bags. The new Surfing Monogram—that combination of Hawaiian prints and the LV Monogram—appeared in four different colourways on a number of pieces including Williams' new iteration of the emblematic Keepall bag.
Three exceptional looks: Look 9's clever update to a striped coordinate that's interpreted with pearl embellishments (including a mini LV charm interspersed throughout); the burnt orange ensemble of look 40 that's decorated with floral appliqués and topped with a woven beret; and the all-denim look 57 cleverly styled with a simple hint of a surfer-inspired charm.
The takeaway: Williams knows what's he's doing with Louis Vuitton, no doubt about it.
View the full Louis Vuitton Pre-Autumn 2024 menswear collection in the gallery below.