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“What do you want to be when you grow up?” asks the fashion designer Virgil Abloh in the show notes for his sixth and strongest menswear collection for Louis Vuitton. “As children, our dreams and aspirations are personified by archetypes: the Artist, the Salesman, the Architect, the Drifter. Familiar characters in everyday society, they are inseparably defined by their uniforms: the dress codes we associate with professions, lifestyles, and knowledge.”
For fall, Abloh’s high concept 70-piece collection titled “Ebonics,” explores and challenges those archetypes. The collection includes classic pieces like perfectly tailored suits and long coats cut with razor-sharp precision and casual looks like a standout oversize black jacket with toy airplane buttons worn with loose jeans.
But the real statement-makers in the collection were the puffer jackets celebrating Abloh’s hometown of Chicago as well as Paris, his second home and headquarters for the brand. The Chicago jacket is adorned with 3D versions of the city’s iconic architecture, including the John Hancock Center, Aon Center and the red CNA Center.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the collection was presented as a stunning film directed by Josh Johnson and informed by James Baldwin’s 1953 essay “Stranger in the Village,” which deals with the parallels between the author’s experiences as an African-American man in a Swiss village and his life in America.
The film is part spoken word, part art installation and part concert. In it, musician and actor Saul Williams and a cast of models walk — and ice skate — through snowy Swiss mountain landscapes and a green marble interior that evokes Mies van der Rohe’s modernist Barcelona Pavilion.
“Within my practice, I contribute to a Black canon of culture and art and its preservation. This is why, to preserve my own output, I record it at length.” Abloh wrote in the show notes.
Here’s what else has caught David Syrek’s eye:
A sweater to warm your chair
Much of the nation is still shoveling out from the blustery snowstorms that hit last week, and we are all looking for ways to stay warm and cozy. Ikea has solved at least part of the problem with their Sammankoppla chair cover, a collab with Greyhound Original Bangkok. The oversize, chunky knit sweater slips over a chair, making it fall somewhere between contemporary art statement and comfy seating.
Ikea’s collaborations have spawned some of the brand’s most innovative and collectible pieces that sell out as soon as they hit the shelves, only to resurface on resale sites. Most notable is the Wet Grass rug designed by Chicagoan and Louis Vuitton artistic director Virgil Abloh, whose collaboration with the brand had shoppers lining up for hours to secure the pieces.
Ikea’s collab with Greyhound Original Bangkok is a collection of home decor that connects street style aesthetics with multifunctionality that is part design statement and part clever solution. The chair sweater even comes with a knit pocket on the sleeve to hold your phone while dining. $29, ikea.com
HAY's Neon Tube LED lights
If your home is feeling the midwinter blues, and you want to change things up but aren’t ready to commit to a full-blown reno, lighting is the fastest way to update the look and feel of a room, be it a crisp, clean light, or a soft, moody glow.
The latest offering from the super-hot Danish design brand HAY will instantly brighten things up and add a dramatic atmosphere with the flip of a switch.
The brand’s wildly popular Neon Tube LED lights sold out as soon as they hit the shelves in December, but are being restocked with a March arrival date. The 59-inch-long lights come in four saturated colors and warm white. They are designed to stand alone or be combined for a sophisticated effect, calling to mind the minimalist light constructions of the late American artist Dan Flavin.
“Light is perhaps the most essential factor of any space,” said HAY co-founder and creative director Mette Hjort Hay. “It has an impact on everything: The atmosphere, the appearance of any interior, and how the architecture of said space will unfold its beauty. I would imagine that as most people are at home a lot these days and given the time of the year (at least here in Denmark), they add a much-needed pop of color.”
Lean a pair of the lights in an overlooked living room corner or stand one on a kitchen countertop to bring in a playful energy. The lights are especially effective in white rooms, where the soft, glowing color transforms the space. $55 each at us.hay.com.
Meet your personal bedside barista
No, you’re not dreaming. That’s the sound of bubbling water and the smell of freshly brewed coffee wafting through the air as you contemplate waking up. The Barisieur coffee maker and alarm clock lets you start your day with a freshly brewed cup of joe (or loose leaf tea) without leaving the cozy confines of your bed. The beautifully designed (and pricy) system created by British industrial designer Joshua Renouf is composed of hand-blown borosilicate glass and polished stainless steel components that sit on a wood tray, giving it a science lab meets contemporary sculpture vibe. Barisieur even has a built-in mini milk fridge to keep everything you need within reach. The clock’s display dims as the night goes on and there’s a built-in USB charger for your phone. Just set Barisieur to start brewing 5 minutes before the alarm and stay in bed a little longer. $445, b8ta.com
A smart, stylish solution for a quieter WFH space
Working from home certainly has its benefits, but one of the biggest challenges (along with finding a workspace that’s better than a kitchen table takeover) is dealing with the distraction of background noise. Leave it to Swedish design powerhouse Ikea to create a solution that’s not only functional but looks great. The brand’s Oddlaug felt discs can be put together in any configuration to serve as sound-absorbing panels for a little ear relief — and make a chic design statement. Oddlaug works with Ikea’s curtain system so you can easily create a stylish, noise-reducing room divider or window shade. They also can be attached artfully to a wall. Packs of 15 discs come in dark or light gray and can be mixed together for a striking effect. $29.99, ikea.com