the legacy of virgil abloh


“Virgil Abloh” by Duncan Cumming is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0. see below for links.

Though marking the first show of the new year, the Louis Vuitton Men’s Autumn/Winter 2022 collection also paid a remarkable tribute to the past. On Nov. 28, 2021, the fashion world mourned the death of Louis Vuitton’s Creative Director and beloved designer Virgil Abloh, who had been silently fighting a rare cardiac cancer.

Abloh’s career path involved collaboration with many noteworthy brands, projects and other creative minds within the fashion industry. His collegiate studies in civil engineering and architecture display that his creative mind and artistic nature extend beyond fashion. Upon entering his name within the fashion industry through his role as Kanye West’s creative director in 2010, Abloh began a career that would allow him to consistently break barriers in the fashion industry.

In 2012, Abloh founded his own company, Off-White, which soon rose to attract recognition as a luxury brand. In paving the way for his unique voice, Abloh’s vision for Off-White represented his pioneering tendencies, as few luxury brands at the time had pushed the limits of high fashion in the way that he did. Rather, his artistic vision of the brand reimagined fashion, as he integrated elements of both street fashion and luxury wear, demonstrating the intersections between classic and contemporary.

With this experience, Abloh became the first Black Creative Director of Louis Vuitton in 2018, where he designed for the brand’s menswear sector until his death. In this position, he carried on his vision of high streetwear duality, reenvisioning the house to market toward a more contemporary audience. Within his first year of working with Louis Vuitton, Time Magazine recognized Abloh as one of the most influential people of 2018.

On Jan. 20, the Carreau du Temple hosted Abloh’s final collection for Louis Vuitton. Rife with references to the designer’s previous work, the show’s unity evoked a deeply emotional sentiment from the audience. The set took on a whimsical design, including an oversized bed and a house sinking into the ground, which pointed to the themes of coming-of-age, as well as the symbolism of the imagination and its importance in both Abloh’s values and the world of fashion in a broader context. It is through these themes that Abloh continues to touch the world even after his death, and through tears, his friends, family and collaborators remember his artistry and the ways he not only impacted  fashion but also the way in which individuals interpret meaning from it.

In a recording of a few of his final words, Abloh notes, “There’s no limit…Life is so short that you can’t waste even a day subscribing to what someone thinks you can do, versus knowing what you can do.” 

Link to the show here: 

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