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January 2021 | Style | France

Tourist or Purist?

Text | Alp Tekin

Virgil Abloh, creative director of Louis Vuitton men's collections, presented Men's Autumn-Winter collection with a 13 minute long video. It was such a presentation! The main point that excited us as much as the collection itself was of course the video with various sub-texts and references.


Abloh suggests a "new normal" with the new collection. He questions who is the ruler that tells us that we have been dressing in accordance with the rules determined by society since childhood and that we comply with these patterns. Most importantly, Abloh recommends that we create our own rules using existing rules. For example,He uses Ghana fabric Kente, which is a product of his roots, and plaid fabric together and asks: "Does that make Kente less Ghanaian and less Scottish than tartan?"


Abloh also puts forward the "Tourist & Purist" opposition. Abloh's invention, the first of these two words, Tourist, is not used as we know it.

It's a metaphor. The curious stranger who observes and aspires to an esoteric field of knowledge is called Tourist. Purist, on the other hand, is an insider who lives in the area of this esoteric knowledge, that is, already blessed.


Likewise, the video is like this official parade of tourists and purists. The person we see walking through the snow at the very beginning of the video is probably a Purist. She carries esoteric information in her bag. These informations is perhaps the new normal that Abloh suggested, above all disinterestedness, we do not know.

When Purist arrives at the place designed like a modern temple, she continues to circulate her bag in her hand.Finally she puts the bag on the floor. The person we saw sleeping from the beginning of the video, who is actually a Tourist, wakes up and then takes the bag and starts dancing.


Abloh also uses these two words with the following subtext: The tourist wants what Purists have. That is its culture, its codes. Should they challenge each other or cooperate? The references of this video which shot like an art movie, do not end with counting. For example, in this video, Abloh also refers to the famous writer James Baldwin's 1953 article "Stranger in the Village". Referring to the parallels between the author's experience as an African-American man in a Swiss village and his life in America.


Ultimately, the video is surrounded with the questions of "What does normality look like, what does it mean, and who has the privilege to embody it?" , he makes the fashion and design an identity further than only color, fabric or trousers and jackets.


We bow respectfully before him.

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