A Look at the Life and Death of Virgil Abloh – WWD

Virgil AblohHis death at the age of 41 from a rare cancer sent shockwaves not only to the fashion world but also to wider culture, from music to the skating rink, where his roots to his home state of Illinois.

“For over two years, Virgil has heroically battled a rare, malignant form of cancer of the heart,” reads the Instagram post announcing his death on Nov. 28, “He chose to. has endured her battle since her diagnosis in 2019, has endured all kinds of trials, and runs a number of important organizations including fashion, art, and culture. . “

The Ghanaian-American designer turned her architectural training into a career as a creative director for one of the biggest artists in music, Kanye West. Abloh has combined his passions for music, skating and street culture into an innovative vision and cultural phenomena that have influenced generations of youth cultures.

After West hired Abloh in 2007, the duo began exploring the world of fashion early as students before being advised to become interns at Fendi. Not long after Fendi, Abloh, along with Don C, opened RSVP Gallery, a chic, contemporary Chicago streetwear and fashion boutique that offers a glimpse into Abloh’s tastes and influences, including his time luxury, streetwear and contemporary art.

While running RSVP Gallery, he staged Jay-Z and Kanye West’s Watch the Throne tour with artist Es Devlin as well as West’s Yeezus tour, also with Devlin, and designed album covers for West, rappers Pusha T and A$AP Rocky among others.

He debuted as a DJ group Been Trill with Preston, Matthew Williams, Justin Saunders and Florencia Galarza, and first entered the fashion industry with Pyrex Vision. The project sits at the heart of American menswear, expanding the vocabulary beyond American tailoring and prepping. While many men in New York City were wearing plaid jackets with elbow patches and lace-up shoes, Pyrex helped introduce a new wave of streetwear that was dark and edgy, but with The sexy look is a bit new, different from typical streetwear inspirations like hip-hop music and skating. Although Pyrex’s roots are in rap music, the graphics borrow from classical European art and sculpture, all of which extend from Abloh’s vision of the West in the early 2010s.

Abloh extended the concepts explored with Pyrex and with West through ivory white, his first official fashion venture. ivory white started where Pyrex had left it, producing denim shirts and plaid shirts with the word “White” instead of “Pyrex” and introducing motifs that would become signatures like slanting stripes, zip flaps and quotes. The word after is now synonymous with Abloh, immortalized in collaborations, accessories, artwork and even the “Figures of Speech” exhibit.

Off-White was a finalist for the LVMH Awards in 2015 with the likes of Craig Green, Demna Gvasalia, and winners Marques’ Almeida and Jacquemus, and also scored a series of the most notable collaborations. with Nike on a series called “The Ten” featuring reinterpretations of Nike’s top 10 sneakers, and with Ikea on the furniture and decor for the Markerad collection. Abloh also works with Rimowa, Timberland, Moncler and Jimmy Choo among other fashion partnerships, with Evian and Mercedes-Benz for lifestyle partnerships and with artist Takashi Murakami on works artwork they exhibited together in 2018.

Also in 2018, Abloh was named Louis Vuitton male art director, marking him as the first black American to hold the position at LVMH. The move marks a new direction for the fashion house that previous seasons have collaborated with streetwear brand Supreme on capsule collections under Kim Jones. Abloh will partner with Bape and Human Made Nigo founders and introduce Louis VuittonThe first skate and skate ambassador, Lucien Clarke, as well as tap into pop culture icons and references from black American culture and the African diaspora, as seen in the collection. Michael Jackson inspiration for FW19 and FW21.

Abloh said of her FW21 collection: “As one of the few color designers to show off the Parisian schedule, I am, in a way, at the forefront of the movement for diversity. “Honestly, I don’t want those to be momentary.”

Much of Louis Vuitton’s recent tributes to Abloh recall his first show for the home, like the rainbow runway deck and the paper airplane he threw on an empty runway.

In 2019, Abloh launched collections for Louis Vuitton and Off-White, performed DJ sets and showcased many of his works for his first solo exhibition.”Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech” begins at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago and travels to museums around the globe. These major projects were running concurrently before he announced his retirement on the advice of his doctor in September 2019.

Abloh’s passing this year is still shocking considering his young age and what he’s accomplished in such a short period of time, but his story will go down in history as one of the greatest. Fashion’s greatest legacy.

Little is known about Abloh’s condition, which makes his strides during that time all the more remarkable. While many were outraged and focused on Abloh’s controversial $50 donation to the Fempower Community Guarantee Fund in 2020, the fund managed to provide bail for the BLM protesters. , he also launched a “I support young black business” t-shirt to raise money for Chicago CRED; racing Off-White x Air Jordan IV “Sail” sneakers to raise money for HugsNoSlugs; launched his “Postmodern” Scholarship Fund to provide scholarships to Black students and partnered with the Fashion Scholarship Fund, and launched the Free Games series, where he provides information Details on how to start a brand.

The following year saw the launch of his latest Louis Vuitton and Off-White collections and a major turning point that saw LVMH purchase a large percentage of Off-White and in return Abloh would receive a larger role while working within the LVMH wine, spirits and hospitality portfolios. All of this happened in just a short period of time before his untimely departure.

On November 28, the likes of Bernard Arnault, Silvia Venturini Fendi, Ev Bravado, Brick Owens and Dieter Grams expressed their love for the late designer, sharing their gratitude and explaining how much inspiration in their careers and lives.

Been Trill’s longtime friend and colleague Heron Preston had much to share after Abloh’s death, including moments together behind the DJ booth and during their travels.

“For almost 20 years, I have been fortunate and fortunate enough to call Virgil Abloh my brother, my best friend, my business partner, a collaborator and mentor. I LOVE YOU VIRGIL! Thank you for trusting and motivating me. My heart is heavy. I miss you very much! Preston’s Instagram post on November 29 says you are so much loved and appreciated.

The world had the chance to say goodbye to Abloh at the Louis Vuitton Spring 2022 show in Miami during the Art Basel event. Many of his friends, including Bella Hadid, Pharrell Williams, Rihanna, A$AP Rocky, Luka Sabbat and Kanye West and Kim Kardashian West, attended the spin-off show no less than a tribute to the tenure. of Abloh at this house.

A three-story high multicolored sculpture by Abloh greeted guests at the event, but the drone farewell light show brought tears to the eyes of viewers around the world as the machines This plane forms a paper airplane and the sentence “Virgil was here”.

The performance made Abloh’s passing feel more real and his contributions to Louis Vuitton and popular culture were also greatly appreciated. In the same week, Mercedes-Benz, as planned, revealed their final collaboration with Abloh, which was opened to the public at the Rubell Museum in Miami following the wishes of the Abloh family.

Louis Vuitton opened its second independent menswear store in Miami and dedicated the windows of its global stores in New York, Seoul, Tokyo, Osaka, London, Moscow, Taipei, Los Angeles, Chicago, Singapore, Istanbul , Sydney, Bangkok, Milan and Madrid to Abloh.

In addition, works associated with Abloh’s name have skyrocketed after his death, including Nike x Off-White sneakers from the project “The Ten” and more recently artwork about Abloh by pop artist and illustrator Rob Prior sells for $1 million and comes with an NFT version created by QNFT.

The overwhelming response to Abloh’s impact speaks to the multi-traditionalist’s unique career and path that has touched so many lives.

https://wwd.com/fashion-news/fashion-features/virgil-abloh-life-death-career-1235018763/ A Look at the Life and Death of Virgil Abloh – WWD


Linh is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. Linh joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing: linh@interreviewed.com.

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