The world is shocked by the sad news of Virgil Abloh’s passing after his private battle with cancer.
Today is a sad day in fashion as the announcement from LVMH revealed that the critically-acclaimed designer Virgil Abloh has passed after his battle with cancer. Initially diagnosed in 2019, Abloh had chosen to keep his diagnosis private. A truly remarkable designer in his own right, Abloh had, in the short time that he had spent as the creative director of Louis Vuitton, left an impact on the fashion magnate, pushing more of its approach to cater to a younger audience, taking inspiration from streetwear, and making the brand more appealing to a younger audience.
Increasing Louis Vuitton’s sales by a monumental 40% through his approach and design focus, Abloh is a celebrated designer. From his early collaborations designing album covers, helping musicians direct their artistic visions from the likes of Kanye West to Jay-Z, Abloh was a prolific designer from the word go.
Abloh first began designing clothes in 2012 where he founded his first company, Pyrex Vision. The design is unmistakably Abloh, with screen-printed designs on Ralph Lauren clothes he had bought. He then founded Off-White in 2013, which, became a cult icon soon after its founding. Off-White helped younger audiences by giving them something to gravitate towards, and in some sense, inspired many to try their hand at design. It’s such an icon, in fact, that at some point, it had surpassed Gucci as one of the most desirable fashion brands in the world.
This then culminates in Abloh being appointed as the Creative Director of Louis Vuitton where we got to see some of the best work that he had done throughout his illustrious career. From the collaboration with Nigo for LV2 which took inspiration from 50s western tailoring which was combined with Japanese-inspired design, this collection is undoubtedly one of the most iconic that Abloh had made.
Also noteworthy is Abloh’s LV men’s pre-collection SS20 which saw sales skyrocket by about 30% when compared to when the brand collaborated with Supreme, another streetwear brand. The collection itself placed a heavy emphasis on the younger generation by implementing contemporary design that, even to this day, feels as fresh as it did way back when, and deliberately so, as Abloh mentioned that the collection’s aim was to dress the contemporary global dresser.
Abloh had always been inspired by LV’s use of color which was more prominent in the 90s which he would then inject into his designs to use as color blocking. This is apparent in his designs that Abloh had done intentionally as it helped keep the design playful, fresh, and sophisticated all at the same time. He had also been known for his experimentation by mixing French and Italian fashion influences and by paintings by incorporating prints that are reminiscent of paintings in his garments.
Abloh is undoubtedly one of the greatest designers of his generation with a forward-thinking design philosophy. He kept things fresh, revolutionized things that needed it, and continuously pushed the envelope by introducing streetwear in a way that appeals to more than just the youth. In the span of his rather short, yet illustrious career, Abloh has changed LV, created a cult-icon that we can hold on to, and in his passing, he cemented his place among the greatest of all time. He’s a brilliant designer and he will be missed.
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