Louis Vuitton paid tribute to Virgil Abloh and Nike‘s Air Force 1 sneaker capsule with an exhibit held in a warehouse in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. The exhibit was supported with multiple sculptures and installations exhibited in public spaces throughout the City. Celebrating the foundational influence of urban sneaker culture as grounded with custom design, the exhibit included all 47 sneakers Abloh designed as part of Louis Vuitton’s spring 2022 collection.
The exhibit included shoe No. 1, a brown silhouette whose upper was detailed with LV’s famed checkerboard Damier motif. Two-hundred pairs of the shoe were auctioned at Sotheby’s, raising over $25 million, 100% of which was donated to The Virgil AblohTM Post-Modern Scholarship Fund, which is centered on expanding educational opportunities for Black students. The remaining pairs are currently being sold through pre-sale to Louis Vuitton’s customers. One pair, shoe No. 15, was covered with a sorbet-colored faux fur, a textile also used to create a coat featured in the same collection.
Visitors (many of whom wore clothing and shoes designed by Abloh) to the exhibit were greeted by staff wearing a custom Louis Vuitton sweatsuit in either black or tan. The building itself was highlighted by a large orange sculpture of an inverted skateboarder. Other than a single sheet of paper showing illustrations of all 47-shoes, each of which was numbered, no shoes or merch were available to buy at the event.
Within the open exhibit space, sneakers were affixed to walls and tables and were often accompanied by a small 3-D visual providing a 360-degree view of the shoe. The space’s bright blue walls were detailed with Abloh’s signature phrases and queries like “Are you a tourist or a purist?” as well as logo-covered mirrors providing plenty of selfie opportunities.
The back of the space was anchored by a treehouse accessed through a spiral staircase. Visitors were allowed one minute in the space to photograph or video tape an image-covered moodboard, shelves full of the shoes and a set of turntables, which were famously housed in Abloh’s Louis Vuitton atelier in Paris.
While the entry to the exhibit included some background on collaboration as a celebration of “the historical influence of Black subcultures on mainstream fashion, within the space no background was provided on inspiration for the various designs. Whether intentional or not, the lack of educational materials set up what was otherwise a joyous paean to Abloh’s enormous creativity as a event more so for the purist rather than tourists.
Check out additional images below, all by Lois Sakany for Snobette.