When the icon of anti-materialism inspires the high-end fashion

The Legendary New Yorker DJ who Inspired the New Louis Vuitton Collection

Louis Vuitton presents its new pre-spring 2023 collection. For this new season, and through the eyes of Virgil Abloh, the luxury brand is interpreting and exploring the experience of the legendary money-free Loft parties that David Mancuso organized during the 70s in New York and which turned 52 this year. Unfortunately, Virgil could not finish creating the collection before his death. His work was carried on by the creative teams with whom he worked at Louis Vuitton.

Love Will Save the Day

Disco music has always been a symbol of mixture of contradictions, developing in an environment which attracted both straight and gay, black and white, the glamourous and the plain-Jane, the bold and the fearful.

During those times when most people were disappointed about the lost prosperous 60s and with all the political and financial challenges hitting, there was a man who believed that passion could always save lives. David Mancuso was born in 1944 in New York. He organized his first party “Love Will Save the Day” in 1970, motivated by the fight for civil rights and themes of counterculture of that era. Mancuso played records to transform his guests’ spirits, and Louis Vuitton is adopting a similar approach for its campaign, using Virgil’s heritage to explore how dress codes can be used to promote anti-bias and equality.

There have already been complaints about this; one of which is Tim Lawrence’s essay, published in his website, rebuking Louis Vuitton for manipulating and abusing Mancuso’s values.

While writing Love Saves the Day: A History of American Dance Music Culture, 1970-1979, Lawrence had become well-acquainted with Mancuso, and he is now denouncing the brand for its inaccurate portrayals of Mancuso’s principles.

“What about the Loft being the absolute inverse of everything Louis Vuitton stands for?”

Lawrence addressed the fact that Mancuso, who passed away in 2016, would have never agreed to take payment in exchange for having his name on a line of apparel. He also opposed the idea that Louis Vuitton and Mancuso shared the same set of values: “Although the text is short it contains several inaccuracies that David would have found extremely irksome (…) that Louis Vuitton and David Mancuso share the same set of social values.”

Mancuso opposed materialism and capitalism; the essay specified. The Loft’s guests initially had to pay only 2$ to get in, and then the price went up to 19$ by the end of the 1970s. Nothing was being sold on the premises; people could bring their own alcohol if they wanted to and there was free food and fresh juices inside. Lawrence says that Mancuso tried to create a situation where there was no economic inequality, and that he wanted the Loft to be a space of utopian freedom and expression excluding the use of money.

“In 46 years of hosting parties—David passed away in November 2016 aged 72—he didn’t once advertise an event. Nor did he ever accept any form of sponsorship.”

Read the full essay on Tim Lawrence’s website.

The Legendary New Yorker DJ who Inspired the New Louis Vuitton Collection

David Mancuso outside Prince Street Loft, New York 1988. Photo by Pat Bates
The Legendary New Yorker DJ who Inspired the New Louis Vuitton Collection

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