Louis Vuitton appoint Virgil Abloh as its new artistic director of menswear
2017 was a prolific year for Virgil Abloh. Stores all around the world opened for his Haute streetwear brand Off-white and now more than 280 stockists around the world carry the label, affirming the labels global success and relevance in the industry. He collaborated with Nike to put a spin on the ten classic Nike silhouettes, in perhaps one of the most hyped and seemingly impossible releases to get your hands on.
During the summer he partnered with Warby Parker, releasing three styles of frames – “Small Sunglasses,” “Medium Sunglasses” and “Large Sunglasses”, retailing for $95 each. If you waited too long, chances have you missed them, selling out almost immediately. Abloh sent the internet into a frenzy when a redesign of the iconic blue Ikea frakta bag, designed by Abloh was released.
It was later confirmed that Ikea will again collaborate with Abloh on an affordable range of home objects for millennials first homes, launching in 2019. Of course, it wasn’t enough to keep Virgil Abloh busy for the entirety of 2017, further collaborating with Jimmy Choo, Levi’s, Moncler, New York City Ballet Fall costumes, Umbro, Kith and breakout rapper Lil Uzi Vert.
So, it comes as no surprise that just mere minutes into the announcement that Louis Vuitton, one of the most powerful houses in fashion, had appointed Virgil Abloh to precede Kim Jones as the brand’s artistic director of menswear, the entire fashion world was rocking. Abloh, who has no formal training in fashion, becomes Louis Vuitton’s first African American designer, and one of few black designers at the top of the game, along with Oliver Rousteing, creative director of Balmain, and Ozwald Boateng for Givenchy men (2003/07).
It is Abloh innate approach to popular culture today that helped streetwear become ambiguous with luxury. It was only a short few years ago that the term streetwear was satirised and Abloh himself couldn’t even get into fashion shows. But this meteoric rise of Virgil Abloh’s success connotes a much deeper meaning. In a generation socially connected through digital media ¬¬and more aware than ever, the future is different, and the power of the youth holds a burning candle in the imminent success of fashion houses, who can no longer solely rely on heritage but must abridge relatability and luxury across all generations.
The most illustrious of houses are turning to streetwear designers to help leverage this luxe aesthetic – think Supreme x LV and Gosha Rubchinskiy x Burberry, so it comes as no surprise, that Abloh, who has been linked to various vacant creative positions, including Givenchy and Versace, would jump at the chance to spearhead a new wave of modernisation with at the top of a luxury brand as Louis Vuitton. As one of the few black designers at the top of the game, his untraditional route into the industry will no doubt inspire a new generation of nonconformist and socially aware youth looking to break boundaries in the industry.
Abloh’s first collection for Louis Vuitton will debut during Paris Men’s Fashion Week in June.