The news about which designer would take on Louis Vuitton’s menswear after the farewell with Kim Jones brought about a hundred headlines per second, various predictions what we might expect from the brand and many, many questions. Virgil Abloh made a stunning leap and landed directly in a team in the First Division of present-day fashion titans. Welcome to the world of luxury, Sir! In case his name looks familiar – yes, he is the creative genius behind Off-White, the brand that all cool kids want to have an endless collection of in their wardrobes. And while celebrities worship him, some popular designers are not particularly flattering about his work. Let’s dig into some curious facts about the new member of the creative family at Louis Vuitton.
1. He is a designer, DJ, architect and… whatever else he wishes to be. This man has a serious list of talents.
2. He hasn’t studied fashion. He finishes his Master’s Degree in Architecture at Illinois Institute of Technology. But on his very first school day there, fate sends him an omen. One his future professors stands up in order to welcome the ambitious students with the words, “Only 3 percent of all of you here will be actually building buildings in the future.” And it suddenly dawns on Virgil, “And I have absolutely no intention of doing so.” Some time later, he draws buildings on his already iconic T-shirts worth hundreds of dollars.
3. He spends quite some time expressing his talent as a creative director for Kanye West. We all remember the hype surrounding his trashy collections that were sold out in the nick of time and then pervaded Instagram for quite a while.
4. Raf Simons is not a particularly huge fan of his work and he doesn’t hide it. During an interview for GQ, Noah Johnson provokes him to share his opinion about the new generation of talents and whether he likes the work of Virgil Abloh for Off-White and Demna Gvasalia for Balenciaga. His response is frank and brief, “Not Off-White. He’s a sweet guy. I like him a lot actually. But I’m inspired by people who bring something that I think has not been seen, that is original. It’s not always about being new-new because who is new-new?” We have also overheard that Calvin Klein has some negative comments about Virgil, regarding his remixes of well-known styles already established by other designers.
5. Virgil doesn’t seem to care much about whether he inspires his colleagues or not. It is much more important to him to sell well. And here, the figures are more than convincing – 100 percent growth in the sales of the brand for one year. Off-White is on the designer list of the most prestigious online and offline stores across several continents.
6. Among the brand’s fans we notice Rihanna, Gigi and Bella Hadid, Drake, Justin Bieber, Jay Z. As well as hundreds of influencers on Instagram.
7. Virgil Abloh has already had several super-successful collaborations including Off-White x Umbro and Off-White x Nike. The designs from these collections have become collectible treasures.
8. The designer gave a lecture at Columbia University, entitled Young Architects Can Change the World by Not Building Buildings. Can you sense the irony? For a split second, we are reminded about the words of the professor who welcomed Virgil to university. And we can’t stop thinking about yet another small discrepancy – one of Raf Simon’s greatest sources of inspiration… has always been his fascination with architecture.
The moral of the story is that the world is big and there is a place and public for all great talents. And while some are pessimistic about what Virgil Abloh can doin terms of creative influence about Louis Vuitton, we are rather curious and open to changes.
Text: Alexandra Tosheva
Photos: Press, Louis Vuitton.