From the runway
Virgil was here.
Virgil Abloh was one of the most influential creators of our generation.
The whole fashion world today is in infinite shock and grief for Virgil Abloh, the Creative Director for Louis Vuitton and Off-White Men’s Lines who died aged 41 after more than 2 years battling with cancer. Dubbed as the “Karl Lagefeld of millennials,” Virgil Abloh had transformed the fashion industry through 6 short years of his phenomenal career.
At the peak of his career and creations, Virgil Abloh’s death has left everyone in a wordless surprise. Let’s take a look at Virgil Abloh’s career and life through 9 moments that have completely fashion and beyond.
1. “Watch the Throne” and “Yeezus”
Born and raised in suburban Chicago, Abloh grew up in a family of immigrants from Ghana. He did not have any education in fashion and instead chose architecture & engineering for this undergraduate & master degree. In 2009, Virgil Abloh interned at Fendi, where he met Kayne West. During the six months they worked together at Fendi, Virgil and Kayne became close friends. They were soon seen together at fashion & art events in France and the U.S.
Virgil Abloh then became Creative Director for Kayne West’s design agency Donda and was nominated for a Grammy Award as the art director for Kayne West and Jay-Z’s “Watch the Throne” album. In 2013, Virgil Abloh again designed the cover of Kayne West’s “Yeezus”, which remains Kayne’s most iconic album cover to this day.
2. Pyrex Vision
In 2013, Virgil Abloh opened his first fashion brand called Pyrex Vision, blending art, streetwear and hip hop. Pyrex hoodies and t-shirts represented a unique creative direction that heralds Off-White’s future success.
In 2014, Virgil Abloh closed down Pyrex Vision and founded Off-White. Off-White’s designs took inspirations from the industrializtion of America: white arrows, black and white stripes, quote mark, zippers. These designs immediately exploded in popularity and Off-White had its first runway show at Paris Fashion Week.
For the next five years or so, you can’t talk about streetwear without mentioning Off-White. Virgil Abloh and Off-White have transformed streetwear into a luxury fashion category, especially among the younger generation.
4. Nike x Off-White “The Ten”
In 2017, Off-White collaborated with Nike to re-imagine all 10 of its most popular shoes. Virgil Abloh tore apart each shoe, turned the designs inside out, added his signature quote mark and the rest is history. No words can describe how difficult it is to get your hands on anything in this collection. The official selling price is $200 but sneakerheads are willing to pay thousands of dollars to own them.
5. IKEA, Rimowa, Champion, Timberland, Burton, Jimmy Choo, Chrome Hearts, Rimowa, Converse
In 2018, Virgil Abloh continued his reign over fashion and beyond. He headed 22 COLLAB PROJECTS in 1 year, from shoes to streetwear, from suitcases to furniture and interior designs. Virgil Abloh proved that creativity had no boundaries. Everything he touched turned into gold and was sold out at launch.
6. Concert merch
If you follow the world of rap & hip-hop, then you probably know that Virgil Abloh is also famous for his concert merch designs. In 2016, the Virgil Abloh t-shirt designed for Kayne West’s The Life of Pablo tour became a much sought-after design and collectible around the world.
7. Louis Vuitton
In 2018, Virgil Abloh was named the Creative Director of Louis Vuitton Homme. He was the first person of color to secure the position in more than 160-year of the brand’s history. Virgil Abloh brought a refreshing take to the house’s DNA and integrated streetwear into the world’s most high-end fashion brand.
Stylish men suits and loose tops, holographic Louis Vuitton Keepall bags, glitter straps, the Fall/Winter 2021 collection with BTS are memorable highlights by Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton.
8. Off-White x Nike x Serena Williams
Virgil Abloh collaborated with Nike to launch the “Queen” collection inspired by tennis champion Serena Williams. The collection included Air Max 97 and Blazer Mid shoes with a feminine yet distinctive gradient color palette inspired by Serena Williams’ love of ballet. The collection also included a ballerina-like tulle skirt worn by Serena Williams when she competed in the 2018 US Open.
9. Pictures of the Speech
Right before his death, Virgil Abloh had his own exhibition as an artist at the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art in July 2021. The exhibition is set in a special space designed by the famous architectural firm OMA*AMO by Rem Koolhaas. It featured all of Virgil Abloh’s most prominent designs, from from music collections to fashion, interior design, graphic design, architecture, and collaborative projects with selected artists.
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