This was the last request for Virgil Abloh and his wife Shannon: that the parade scheduled for this Tuesday (30) in Miami was maintained. Abloh, artistic director of the men’s line at Louis Vuitton, lost the battle against cancer on Sunday (28) after long years of silence.
The presentation, which will take place at 5:30 pm (local time), will mark the end of a era of innovation, diversity and inclusion in fashion by one of the biggest names on the world stage. In a teaser posted on the French maison’s Instagram entitled “Virgil Was There,” a black teenager rides a bicycle before climbing into a balloon with the brand’s logo.
Born in Rockford, Illinois, on September 30, 1980, Virgil disliked codes and standards. Before joining Vuitton, he founded his own label, Off-White, in 2013, with some success. Five years later, he is noticed by the French brand and is invited to assume the position of artistic director.
His reinterpretation of male streetwear for the centenary brand was free and stripped of pre-established ideas and one of the brand’s biggest successes.
His biggest references, characters from black culture like James Baldwin and Lupe Fiasco, close friends like Kanye West and Jay-Z, as well as countless collaborations with brands like Moncler, Nike, Byredo, Ikea, Umbro, Ssense, Evian, Levi’s Made & Crafted , consecrated him as a genius of his time.
But what did Virgil mean to fashion, other than significantly increasing the French maison’s sales figures?
The stylist maintained a strong statement of affirmation of African cultures, encouraging racial inclusion in the most closed spheres of society. As he liked to say: “Everything I do, I do for the version of myself at 17, deeply believing in the power of art to inspire future generations”.
His 2021/22 Fall Winter collection for Vuitton was an anti-racist and anti-homophobic performance led by American rappers. “Fashion is a tool to shape these identities (…) Unconsciously, we trust a figure in a suit and we are suspicious when we see the outline of a hooded sweatshirt”, he declared at the time.
Multidisciplinary – he was a designer, artist, architect and civil engineer – opened doors to new possibilities, transforming luxury collections into objects of desire and interest for new generations. Its streetwear gained engaged and inclusive messages, even if covered with the luxury codes of the French brand.
“We are shocked by this terrible news. Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom. The LVMH family joins me in this time of great sadness, and we all think of their loved ones after the death of a husband, father, brother or friend,” said Bernard Arnault, President and CEO of Louis Vuitton .
Virgil leaves us, but his legacy of innovation and new possibilities in the closed circle of luxury is eternal.
Reference: CNN Brasil