Virgil Abloh, memorialized by Anna Wintour, Kanye West and Venus Williams

Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour pays tribute to the fashion designer Virgil Abloh, who passed away Sunday after a private battle with cancer at the age of 41, by sharing one of her favorite memories of the Off-White designer and Louis Vuitton male art director.

“There will be many tributes to design genius Virgil Abloh, but I wanted to share a more personal memory of a wonderful colleague, humanitarian and friend,” Wintour wrote in a statement. Dad sent to The Daily Beast. “A few years ago, I heard about the French team Melting Passes, whose players were all immigrants. The team just won the 2017 FSGT championship, but despite winning this big prize, they don’t have enough resources for the team’s jersey.

“When I casually mentioned this to Virgil, he immediately offered to help, called Nike, and apparently about a minute later, thirty jerseys had already been delivered to the players. that child. He then invited them all to his Off-White show in Paris, to celebrate their achievement as well as his. The thing about Virgil is more than just his remarkable ability to speak up to this point, or his relentless drive to create, create, and create. He is someone who is always ready to help others on their way to success; Play his part in lifting them up, whenever and wherever he can. It’s a gift that only makes getting through his untimely times all the more unbearable. “

The son of Ghanian immigrant parents, Abloh grew up in Rockford, Illinois and began designing merchandise for Kanye West, who became a good friend after the two met in a print shop in Chicago. The couple practiced together at Fendi in Rome in 2009, and Abloh became West’s official artistic director.

He launched his first brand, Pyrex Vision, in 2012, selling cyclical Ralph Lauren t-shirts. He then founded the streetwear label Off-White in 2013, which has garnered a dedicated, often very young, fanbase with its quote-mark graphics and lace-up sneakers. . He was nominated as head of Louis Vuitton’s menswear division in 2018, making him one of the most prominent — and powerful—Black designer work today.

Virgil Abloh attends the Met Gala in 2021.

Mike Coppola

Oana Stânescu, an architect and designer behind her eponymous studio, has worked with Abloh “on too many design projects to count,” as she told The Daily Beast in an email. . They also talked together at seminars about Harvard GSD, MIT, and the Architectural Association in London. She calls Abloh “a true friend.”

“I was afraid to put everything down because it petrified something I am still denying, but mostly because I was afraid of missing something and not doing Virgil’s justice,” Stânescu wrote. “Not only talented, but also an incredibly kind, generous, open-minded and relentlessly curious soul, he freely shared his desire for life, inspiring many people. generation. No other vocalist has been able to connect with youth in a troubled decade ago like Virgil did, and he did so naturally, because he embodies youth. We will continue to live in a world he has shaped and while the world is certainly less without him, we were lucky to have him in the first place. You can rest in peace.”

Véronique Hyland, fashion director of ELLE, told The Daily Beast: “The fashion world, as we know it, can be extremely self-contained. Virgil makes fashion accessible to ordinary people and makes sure to include those who come to him along the way. When he climbs the fashion ladder, he doesn’t pull up the ladder behind – he lets people rise with him.

“When I interviewed him because Elle last year, he talks about how important it is for him to listen to the young people in the room and I think his willingness to listen is what keeps him innovative and interesting. He doesn’t just do something because it’s always been done that way — every part of his approach is DIY and groundbreaking.”

Bella Hadid, who regularly models for Off-White runways, wrote on Instagram that she was “so disappointed” to hear the news. “It is the magical power he holds,” Hadid wrote. “He makes everyone he encounters feel special in any way he can. Even when the world feels sad, he brings laughter and color and beauty.”


Virgil Abloh and Bella Hadid attend the Louis Vuitton Parfum Dinner in Paris in July 2021.


Traces actor Ellis Ross wrote on Instagram that Abloh’s death “is a devastating loss to culture and fashion.”

The Questlove musician paid his respects by writing, “The lesson that can be taught here is interruption. Provocative. Let’s argue. Button. Let’s be a conversation…. Live like a real artist. Regardless of your thoughts — about his work/life, whether you sleep in the white row or not… .. or the harsh comments — the true mark of an artist is everything. all of these. Virgil Abloh is art. “

Hailey Bieber, who wore a custom Off-White dress to her 2019 wedding, shared a photo of the day with the caption, “I will never be able to fully express how I am. how grateful. [Abloh] and working with him, from walking the runway to having him design my wedding dress and all the other great moments in between, I feel he has always supported me. He is someone who always brings life, charisma, love and joy to any situation, and every room he walks into. A rare generational creative mind and I will never forget his impact.”

“I have a feeling everything I do and experience in the coming year will be for Virgil and be inspired by Virgil.”

– Venus Williams

Venus Williams posted a photo on Instagram of Abloh posing with her sister, tennis champion Serena. In 2019, Williams wore a uniform designed by Abloh featuring a zebra print at the French Open with the words “Mother, Champion, Queen, Goddess”. Venus writes in a caption that she has never met Abloh, but hopes to be at this year’s Met Gala.

“This year it was very festive there and for the first time someone was out in a long time and we didn’t cross the street even though I saw him from afar,” Venus wrote. “But I got caught up in a conversation and when I looked up he was gone. I think I have more time, I don’t know he doesn’t have more time… It’s brave of him to continue his life’s work under the absolute most difficult circumstances. I [sic] It’s amazing how he continues no matter what to pursue what he loves and gives opportunity to everyone, opening doors and elevating the worlds of fashion, design and art. art.

“It gives me even more inspiration as I prepare for next year’s tennis season after a challenging couple of years with injury. I have a feeling everything I do and experience in the coming year will be for Virgil and be inspired by Virgil…. I can’t believe he’s gone. It’s surreal, it feels like he’s still here. I love him, always have and always will be.”

Sergio Hudson, designer who created Michelle Obama’s much-loved plum jumpsuit, wrote on Instagram that he and Abloh were “just talking about our new collections and exchanging household products.”

“This can’t be real,” Hudson added. “Your advice and encouragement is invaluable and will never be forgotten. You are one of the sweetest souls I have ever met on this journey through fashion. You told me that my fate was in order all I had to do was walk through the door. Those words gave me the confidence to ask for what I wanted to push further.”

“It gave me an idea of ​​where the glass ceiling could really go – because there aren’t many people who look like me in the industry in terms of Black and fashion.”

– Bianca Saunders

Bianca Saunders, a 28-year-old menswear designer, told Radio 1 Newsbeat that watching Abloh rise to the top of fashion as a Black designer gave her the encouragement to strive for the top as well.

“It gave me an idea of ​​where the glass ceiling could really go – because there aren’t a lot of people who look like me in the industry in terms of Black and fashion,” she said.

West dedicated a live stream of his weekly Sunday Service performance to Abloh, gifting a simple black title card that reads: “In loving tribute to Virgil Abloh, creative director of [West’s brand] Donda. ” Virgil Abloh, memorialized by Anna Wintour, Kanye West and Venus Williams


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