September 19, 2019
By Noelani Piters
HOW TO SPOT REAL VIRGIL ABLOH LOUIS VUITTONSHOP VIRGIL ABLOH LOUIS VUITTON
Virgil Abloh is on track for world domination. After turning fashion on its head with quotation marks, symbols and sought-after streetwear at his label Off-White, Abloh took the lead as Louis Vuitton’s artistic director of menswear in March last year. His highly anticipated Spring/Summer 2019 debut featured a menagerie of modern pieces for modern times. Metallic ponchos and holographic, coil chain-accented Neverfulls. The Wizard of Oz sweaters and leather-trimmed hoodies. Cream suits, tie-dye windbreakers, colorful gilets, monogram harnesses and high-top sneakers. The looks were rooted in both reality and fantasy as Abloh infused functionality and futurism into a collection made for elevated, everyday living. It was also a global statement of inclusivity as a diverse cast of models ambled down a rainbow runway.
Abloh has continued to bring deft tailoring, fresh separates and updated classics to Louis Vuitton, and with all the hype surrounding his work, it’s no wonder counterfeits have begun to emerge. Luckily Nhu Duong, Omni-Channel Authentication & Brand Compliance Manager and streetwear aficionado, knows her way around Virgil Abloh Louis Vuitton pieces. Read on to discover the details that separate real from faux.
Louis Vuitton Prism Bandoulière Keepall
The iridescent Louis Vuitton Prism Bandoulière Keepall, which accompanied the 28th look on the Spring/Summer 2019 runway, was one of the first buzzworthy bags splashed across Instagram and the Internet in general after Abloh’s first show. Authentic pieces are crafted with monogram-embossed PVC and feature PVC trim, a leather handle, a resin chain and a leather-covered padlock accent. “Though some of Abloh’s designs may be the first of their kind, Louis Vuitton’s brand standards remain the same under Abloh,” notes Duong. “A common misconception is that when the monogram is clipped at the edges of a bag, it’s inauthentic, but due to design this sometimes happens.”
When examining a Louis Vuitton Prism Keepall, pay close attention to the hardware. “Look for the unique matte white-covered link at the end of a chain of translucent links,” says Duong. “The matte link should be functional and removable, and the resin chain should be engraved with miniature LV monograms.”
On inauthentic Prism Keepalls, the padlock can be a dead giveaway. “If the padlock ornament is included on your Louis Vuitton Bandoulière Prism Keepall, it’s an essential tell,” says Duong. “Counterfeits tend to include a shiny silver-tone padlock with gritty logo engraving and striations throughout. Genuine Prism Keepall locks should be covered in leather, have a decent heft to them and include two keys.”
Louis Vuitton Monogram Soft Trunk
The Louis Vuitton Monogram Soft Trunk is one of the few original bag silhouettes that Virgil Abloh created for his initial Louis Vuitton menswear collection. “Authentic Monogram Soft Trunk bags feature the same coated canvas you know and love, as well as a calf leather trim,” notes Duong. “These bags are also adorned with a matte resin chain shoulder strap, matte black corner attachments and metal accents with fleur motifs. The corners and chain on counterfeit versions have been known to possess a shiny and plastic-like feel, which is a sign that the bag may not be genuine.”
Soft Trunk bags should be lined with a black twill textile that should feel neither silky nor smooth. An interior brand tag will also be included in authentic Louis Vuitton bags. “When examining the Soft Trunk, be on the lookout for spelling errors throughout any accompanying literature or interior tags,” says Duong. “Counterfeiters may replicate the fonts, size and shape but we often see fakes with misspelled words and grammatical inconsistencies. Authentic items should also read ‘Défilé Homme,’ which represents that the item is from the men’s collection.”
Louis Vuitton Poppies Dorothy Graphic Windbreaker
Abloh referenced The Wizard of Oz heavily in his first collection for Louis Vuitton, using the misfits-in-wonderland tale as a metaphor for his own accomplishment of becoming the first African-American men’s artistic director at Louis Vuitton. The Poppies Dorothy Graphic Windbreaker features a detailed image of The Wizard Of Oz’s main character among saturated flowers, and is constructed of a woven jacquard. “Counterfeits have been seen with incorrect logo etching, poor stitching throughout and inferior coloring overall, so look closely at the print to make sure it is clearly defined,” explains Duong. “Also double check the fabric content tags—these jackets should be made of 100% polyamide with a 100% cotton lining.”
Authentic garments from this collection should feature high-quality technical zipper hardware, and should be branded with Louis Vuitton in the correct font. “Any zipper that lacks branding is a red flag,” notes Duong.
Louis Vuitton Runner Sneakers
The Louis Vuitton Runner Sneakers were also featured in Virgil Abloh’s Spring/Summer 2019 show. Inspired by the Spalwart Marathon Trail Sneaker, a shoe that’s been around since the ‘50s, Abloh’s twist on the classic sneaker includes monogram fleurs on the outer sole and sleek LV branding on the tongue. “The LV Runner sneakers are composed of suede and mesh textile, and a standout feature on these is the oversized treaded rubber soles,” notes Duong. “Authentic pairs will feature an LV logo and the country of origin at the soles — they should read ‘Made In Italy.’”
The metal staple adornments at the sneakers’ heels also feature first-of-its-kind branding for the heritage house. “The placard features an etched Louis Vuitton logo in Virgil Abloh’s handwriting, and an homage to Paris’ oldest stone bridge, the Pont Neuf,” notes Duong. “It should read ‘Louis Vuitton / Paris, France, 2018 Pont Neuf.’ The placard itself should be polished and should not be overly shiny or gritty.”
Invest in a piece of menswear history with our edit of expert-authenticated Louis Vuitton c/o Virgil Abloh.
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Please note: Brand standards, logos and other identifying features may have changed since the time of publication.