Louis Vuitton’s Spring Summer 2022 fashion film Amen Break is little short of genius.. Shifting through worlds and times, the over seventy-two look strong collection is modeled on an army of artists, dancers and models. The film's main narrative is of passing down cultural heritage, and the idea of sampling applied across the disciplines.
The outfits exist in a harmony or layered notes - dark and minimalist, psychedelic and hard to ignore, like the musical compositions drawn together by Benji B; who is joined by an all-star cast of contributors including the legendary Goldie. SS22 Amen Break references the eternally-sampled 1969 break beat drum of the same name. We can hear it experimented with and warped from its original form in Goldie’s Innercity Life that similarly echoes through the new compositions made specifically for the film.

Virgil Abloh makes visible the break beat of funk and soul band, The Wisntons off the b-side track Amen, Bother through the diverse reinterpretations and remixing of sartorial classics. The show notes explain, “Applied to fashion, where the staples of suits, tracksuits, shirts and t-shirts are re-interpreted on a never-end- ing loop, the Amen Break becomes a metaphor for the myth of ownership in contemporary creativity.”

Since, in music, unlike in fashion the immateriality of sound encourages a more open approach to remixing, stating ‘the myth of ownership’ glimpses at a utopian anarchist idea of what ownership might be in fashion moving forward. Known for taking inspiration from other fashion houses, then remixing it for Louis Vuitton, Virgil is celebrating this tradition that might originate in his background as a DJ. Spring Summer 2022 hints at there being no true owner of any design. I love it. Battered top hats and suits with karate-like belts are two familiar shapes made new, and unfamiliar, through changes in form and or colour. It's remixing, but with garments.
Amen Break speaks to the myth of singular authenticity - and binary. Not least with men wearing masculine skirts that transcend binary, but also in the intellectual references of the design process. A lemon and lemon juice carton graphic illustrates the press release. The illustration is labeled lemon ‘natural’ and juice (with lemon illustration) ‘processed’ with a double-headed arrow between the simple images. It seems to joke at the quote from Donald Winnicott’s psychoanalysis “and yet a trace of the true self exists in the false self” (1960). This quote titles a popular meme of dinosaurs followed by a series of arrows as they become oil, plastic then plastic dinosaurs. Ideas of true and false self are becoming popularlised to new audiences, in part because of this contemporary humour. Amen Break might ask: What is a product if not a re-mix of its raw materials? What is ‘original’ and ‘remixed’? Is one more authentic than the other?

Further into the press release, a suit and tracksuit illustration get the same double-headed arrow positioned between them; titled ‘The Struggle of Polar Opposites’, ‘(Track)suits’ explaining eloquently, “the root of the study is the dichotomy between ‘for- mal’ and ‘street’”. The suit and the tracksuit's differences feel almost arbitrary, and imagined. Writing ‘for’ ‘mal’ Abloh echoes the style of a poet who contributed words to this film, Kai Isiah Jamal, who writes using enjambment and breaks in iterations that disorientate the binary. This hammers home a sense of freedom in the signifiers of identity - binary or non-binary we all melt into the same human existence.

Exploring and traversing binaries of contemporality and tradition, this collection reminds us that colouring outside of the lines bring mostly joy.
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