Virgil Abloh’s Never-Ending Showcase

Maggie S. '22

Over the past few months, the fashion industry has had to mourn the death of fashion visionary Virgil Abloh, who passed from a private battle with cancer at the age of 42. 

Virgil was nefariously known as the first black creative director at Louis Vuitton, where he mastered the art of streetwear, readytowear, and couture fashions. Virgil rose to fame for his various forms of art. He was a mastermind behind pop culture, worked with many established brands, and even designed the cover art of albums. He was most notably known for his work on the cover of the critically acclaimed album, Yeezus by Kanye West. 

While holding the position at Louis Vuitton, Abloh also worked on his own brand, Off-White, which found major success in both men’s and women’s streetwear realms. 

Virgil created things so other people could create their own reality. His vision was to inspire hundreds of people to do what they love and enjoy. He even created a website that gave free information on how to jumpstart a company–things like making a website, how to shoot a lookbook, and many more. This was evident throughout his work and portfolio. 

On Virgil’s website, FREE-GAME, he claimed “ I will continue to open doors for those that come from the fringe and help them be awarded opportunities usually left for the center.” In hindsight, he kept to his word. 

Off-White is not creatively directed at this time, but will continue to draw inspiration, sketches, and wisdom from Abloh. The position has large shoes to fill. 

Virgil’s eighth and final show was viewed this week at Paris Fashion Week for Off-White. According to CNN,  Ib Kamara–the Sierra Leone-born creative and editor-in-chief of the fashion publication “Dazed”–says, “One of the most brilliant things about the man was that he could introduce starkly new ideas every season, but that these ideas also intertwined with seasons from the past.” 

The show stayed consistent with many house codes  “Black sweaters and body-con dresses came with asteroid-shaped cutouts; mohair harnesses topped tailored suiting; slouchy leather cargos were adorned with perfectly geometric patch pockets”, says CNN. 

Notably, during the show there was a large white flag held by a model that was inscribed, “QUESTION EVERYTHING”. Virgil’s claim to fame was his ability to create a foundation for others to create. Many pieces also included Virgil’s iconic paraphrased icons. One notable look was worn by Kendall Jenner, and was a black mini dress with the words “LITTLE BLACK DRESS” embellished vertically on the piece. 

Abloh’s effect on the fashion industry is untouchable. Ella Sever, a senior at OLSH, says that “It is virtually impossible for a single show to illuminate Virgil’s last works. The coming shows are going to be the ones that truly represent him.”

The pieces in this exhibition challenged the definition of clothing, and also introduced the brand’s new makeup line which could be boundless. 

While this is the last show that Virgil himself composed, it is certainly not the end of his inspiration and lasting impression on the industry.