“There’s Only One”, Virgil Abloh Channels Michael Jackson at Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2019

Virgil Abloh sent out a Michael Jackson-inspired glove as his invite to Louis Vuitton’s Fall/ Winter 2019 show taking place at Paris Fashion Week this Thursday.

The crystal-studded white glove includes details of the Louis Vuitton show. “There’s only one” is written on the top of the inside of the glove, and Abloh had signed the bottom of it. A Louis Vuitton-branded snap button closure completes the glove, which bears a striking resemblance to the white glove Jackson made famous.

“There’s only one.” The “one,” of course, referenced the single glove worn by Jackson during some of the late singer’s most memorable performances. But more than a simple item of clothing, Abloh was referring to Jackson’s global status as the King of Pop.

The controversial decision to choose Jackson as the collection’s inspiration wasn’t explained in detail by Abloh, who instead focused on the singer’s mesmerising sense of theatre, his impressive philanthropic work, and his overall ability to unify fans around the world. After all, Jackson remains a culturally indefinable phenomenon heralded for his revolutionary ability to effortlessly cross-pollinate music, dance, and fashion.

Since shooting to fame as a child in The Jackson 5, the audaciously gifted artist was in the spotlight. He matured in front of the world, from boyhood to adulthood, and through Louis Vuitton, Abloh decided to pay homage to it all.

From the show’s set, a replica of the video for Jackson’s 1983 hit “Billie Jean” complete with graffiti artists Futura, Lewy, and Jim Joe live at work, to the Dev Hynes-written and performed track “You Know What’s Good,” which had hints of Jackson’s “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin”, references to Jackson could be found everywhere.

Yes, there were the obvious ones. Numerous models rocked black loafers styled with white, crystal-embroidered socks. There were open white silk shirts, shiny embellished gloves, and a purple silk crepe military jacket and matching trousers sported by model Alton Mason, who danced down the runway. Elsewhere was Jackson’s trademark hat and a red cafe racer jacket in suede leather inspired by the iconic red leather jacket Jackson wore for the “Thriller” video.

And there were also hoodies, shirts, knitwear, trousers, and hats featuring cartoon figures from 1978 musical The Wiz, an all-black take on The Wizard of Oz starring Diana Ross as Dorothy and Michael Jackson as the Scarecrow. Of course, this was a subtle reference to Abloh’s Oz-themed Louis Vuitton debut collection for Spring/Summer 2019.

It sure wasn’t streetwear as we know it. Rather it was streetwear in the context Abloh described in the show notes in his debut collection: “A predictable clothing genre in a renegade designer’s debut collection as part of the fashion establishment, but one whose sportswear properties are undergoing a critical transformation into luxury.”

Exact definitions aside, the show got everyone extremely excited, including an impressive roster of celebrity attendees that included musicians Mos Def, Kid Cudi, Gunna, Offset, Kris Wu, J Balvin, Frank Ocean, and Skepta; actors Timothée Chalamet and Joel Edgerton; models Natalia Vodianova, Naomi Campbell, and Giedre Dukauskaite; designers Kris Van Assche, Samuel Ross, and Jerry Lorenzo; and other industry insiders such as Don C, Juergen Teller, Takashi Murakami, and Ben Gorham.

They’re all part of Abloh’s inner circle. More than just great clothing, Abloh has created clothing that serves as an “in-the-know” status symbol, giving consumers the feeling they’re part of that influential global in-crowd. It’s the new luxury consumer Abloh reaches, and Louis Vuitton knows to follow his lead.

Today, on the biggest men’s fashion stage on Earth and with some of the world’s most influential people in attendance, the designer yet again proved “there’s only one” Virgil Abloh.

Let us know what you though of the collection, down in the comments!