Louis Vuitton honored its late creative director Virgil Abloh on Thursday afternoon by unveiling his latest collection. The American designer died unexpectedly of cancer on November 28 at the age of 41. Abloh, who kept his illness a secret, worked on his eighth collection for the fashion house until shortly before his death.
The poetic show, a mixture of fashion show, music and dance performance, was presented as part of Paris Men’s Fashion Week under the magnificent glass roof of the Carreau du Temple. The floor, rows of seats and fragments of a house in the middle of the catwalk were painted light blue, creating a surreal atmosphere. The creations themselves captivated above all with their gender-fluid elements, with which Abloh had made the French fashion house the favorite label of millennials in recent years. For example, one model wore an original combination of a long dark green velvet skirt with a matching track jacket. Suits with wide trousers were worn partly with sneakers, partly with boots with block heels. Long lace veils, eye-catching rhinestone jewellery, wide tulle skirts and petticoats were also on display. At the end of the show, a series of white looks with angelic wings was reminiscent of the finale of a haute couture show.
The question of the successor
Louis Vuitton presented the show twice on Thursday to allow audiences to social distancing. The collection was 95 percent complete at the time of Abloh’s death, Louis Vuitton CEO Michael Burke told industry magazine WWD. That’s bought the company time to find a successor for the prestigious job — though matching Abloh’s credibility down the road won’t be easy.
“It’s a decision that takes courage – just like the choice of Virgil was bold,” said Serge Carreira, a fashion specialist at Sciences Po University in Paris It involved and mixed culture and society. He used less elitist reference points and appealed to a very wide range of people,” added Carreira.
Abloh, who ran his own hugely popular label Off White before joining Louis Vuitton, was one of the pioneers of collaborations between brands, affiliating with Nike, Evian and even Ikea.
“What Virgil taught a lot of people is how to be multidisciplinary and not be afraid to create what you want,” said Bianca Saunders, the up-and-coming British designer, who is performing her first show on Wednesday at Paris Fashion Week. “It was really impressive. He impacted so many people’s lives and when I met him he was such a personable person,” she told AFP.
Among the many candidates rumored to be following in Abloh’s footsteps are his former collaborators Samuel Ross and Heron Preston, Reebok designer Kerby Jean-Raymond and British designer Grace Wales Bonner. Kanye West’s name has also been discussed. Louis Vuitton is auctioning 200 pairs of Nike Air Force 1 sneakers designed by Abloh – with a starting price of $2000. The money goes to the “Post-Modern” foundation, which supports fashion students with African and Afro-American backgrounds. (AFP/ DPA)