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Aug 28th, 2016
the designer behind the Milan based luxury street wear brand off—white, is a designer I get. He chooses to show in Paris, create and make his line in Milan and Portugal.
We come from the same school of thought. He understands street wear like no other, mixes hip hop culture, art and alternative music when creating his collection. I can only compare his esthetic to those of Kris van Assche and the Public School team.
It’s just something that is in their blood. No wonder their shows are always packed with professional athletes from around the globe. Who else is buying the luxury sportswear? Athletes, musicians and the ASAP Rocky’s in every neighbourhood.
When Off-White c/o Virgil Abloh debuted in late 2013, Abloh quickly became known for imagining the street through the lens of architecture in clothes for men and women that might be called “practical conceptual”: crisply cut pants and tops and ponchos that walk the line between eighties Pop and ancient Japanese warrior with an athletic swagger.
For Spring 2017 Men’s wear he took us pack to Nirvana and the show ‘ Smelled like Teen Spirit, just with a little Russian twist on how men should dress and look. Trendy and expensive in only three years he has built his now empire and devoted fans.
Which helped him secure penultimate spot on the official calendar, and stock listed in stores in Soho, Tokyo, and Toronto. Yet the brand —Off-White is still considered a young emerging brand. But this is the good news for Abloh.
He is comfortable with taking risks, so that he can fine-tune the brand identity, and exist as an outsider-insider growing his army.
The Collection was Titled Mirror Mirror, his Spring collection was represented by an imposing image of Parisian architecture—except this wasn’t the actual building, but rather the trompe l’oeil scenography that often conceals construction projects around the city. “A brand can be 100 years old; but the outward facade versus what’s behind it can be totally different,” he explained.
The crowd waited in anticipation to see more of his soon to be cult pieces of screen-printed concert T-shirts and sweatpants that form his brand’s genetic code have evolved to knitwear with openwork holes and organza sheer enough to look sweat-drenched. The imagery mixed macabre with symbolic: A W-shaped serpent nailed to a cross that opened the show, followed by a ghoulish hand puncturing a trio of Fs as if someone had just yelled the only expletive that requires “off.”
The scorpions seemed significant; as sequin appliques handcrafted in India and patched onto trousers, they were equally gratuitous and glamorous. The ample, high-waisted pants, along with the long coats, suggested liberal sampling; but then Abloh’s strength as a designer still largely comes from the fact that he is an unapologetic fan.
Hence a collection rife with riffs on memorabilia: a knitted portrait of Liam and Noel Gallagher, an appropriated WWII A-2 flight jacket in pliant leather, and soccer scarves heralding his brand. Abloh gave certain guests disposable “cameras” (like all things Off-White, they were packaged and branded in quotation marks) to document the moment from multiple perspectives. These “photographers” were then asked to return the cameras. As a clever mirror-mirror twist, Abloh conceived his own crowd-sourced souvenir.
Photos: Rudy de Monteiro
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