Virgil Abloh, the Ghanaian-American designer best known for his label Off-White and a collaboration with Nike, just made history as Louis Vuitton’s newest menswear artistic director. As the first person of African descent to lead this segment of the brand, Abloh is among very few of the African American designers at the head of major French fashion houses. With the rainbow-ombré catwalk surrounded by celebrities and local students, his first collection with the brand debuted in the Palais-Royal during Paris Fashion Week, and it was iconic for so many reasons.
Redefining streetwear has been Abloh’s mission since he began Off-White, and it seems that this ideology will carry into the Louis Vuitton position. He cited a desire to merge streetwear, which he thought often looked cheap, and high fashion. The current athleisure movement and the increasing demand for stylish and comfortable clothing helped push Off-White to mega-success. As LV moves in this direction, with space-like sneakers and duffel-inspired handbags, Abloh’s expertise will make a significant impact on the label.
The show and collection were inspired by the “Color Theory,” or the fragmentation of white light through a prism that creates all colors. This idea was interpreted literally by the gradient of rainbow colors that created the catwalk and the progression of all-white outfits to bright pops of color. However, Abloh’s incredibly diverse casting also held meaning in the way that LV will operate moving forward.
At the end of the runway, Abloh and Kanye West joined in an emotional embrace, signifying how far they have each come in their own careers. Abloh and West first met in 2009 at an internship with Fendi and continued the relationship as West tapped Abloh to be the creative director of his company DONDA. Abloh had previously discussed his childhood growing up in Chicago and walking past high-fashion stores on Michigan Avenue, longing for the out-of-reach clothing in the windows. West has also been outspoken about his past in Chicago. With both men sharing that history and the success that each has achieved, this moment was even sweeter.
With such powerful emotion and creativity behind the collection and Virgil Abloh’s influential presence at the helm of Louis Vuitton menswear, we can only expect bigger things in the future. What was your favorite moment of the fashion show? Comment below!
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