Consuming culture online is an easter egg hunt. Much cultural commentary—criticism, even—has become a sort of conspiracy theorizing, as we find signs and symbols and string them together in hopes of finding greater meaning. Even when the parts don’t add up to a whole, the mere discovery of them gives us a thrill, and a sense that there is indeed order in a world that seems to lack it. Think Marvel movies, and maybe also QAnon.
I thought about this while taking in Virgil Abloh’s Fall 2021 show for Louis Vuitton, an exploration of male archetypes: “the Artist, the Salesman, the Architect, the Drifter, etc.,” the show keynotes stated, though in the collection, I also saw the prophet, the pimp, the zaddy, the manager, and the Gstaad Guy. (Not a joke: Abloh is one of my fellow followers of the Instagram guilty pleasure @TheGstaadGuy.) In part, this archetypal approach