Continuing to celebrate the central role of basketball in culture, Louis Vuitton's second collection with the National Basketball Association is all about pop culture, fashion and sports. The Pre-Fall 2021 capsule was conceived by artistic director Virgil Abloh, with input from old friend, designer, and musician Don Crawley, whose own brand explores the hybrid of fashion design and sport. In keeping with the sense of community at the core of Abloh's practice, poet and model Kai-Isaiah Jamal, who became the first Black trans model to walk a Louis Vuitton show for A/W 21, fronts the new campaign.
The second LV x NBA capsule hones in on the basketball player's different dress modes, a theme which ties loosely to the structure behind the Louis Vuitton A/W 21 menswear collection where Abloh explored sartorial archetypes such as the artist and the salesman. This time, we're thinking more loosely and conceptually about travel, game and press conference, aka the main domains of the basketball player. Loose and relaxed black suiting with hoodies and shorts, a technical parka jacket and performance trousers were designed with travel in mind. Blousons with matching shirts and shorts featuring multi-colour letters created from the NBA typeface to spell out 'Louis Vuitton' take things centre court. A black suit and oversuit are for the post-game press conference. Leather bags feature a grain developed to mirror that of a basketball, of which shoppers can get the real thing, embossed with the LV monogram - a first for Louis Vuitton. Oversized chain necklaces also nod to the jewellery worn by basketplayers in the nineties.
Crawley and Abloh not only co-own the RSVP Galley boutique in Los Angeles but have known each other since Abloh's days as creative director for Kanye West, with whom Crawley worked closely. Both navigated the threshold of streetwear and luxury fashion before it went mainstream, and for the new LV x NBA collection Crawley worked on designing the blouson shirts, shorts and Keepall bag. Basketball iconography designed by Crawley include a basketball with wings. These appear like stickers throughout, providing a cartoonish and playful edge to the capsule, nodding to the legacy of the Marc Jacobs womenswear era which spawned the cult of collaboration in the noughties - Abloh has previously referenced the 2009 Stephen Sprouse graffiti bags as the beginnings of his fashion education.