NW Week

Sunday, September 24, 2023

The designer, Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh, kept a charisma that transcended luxury

designer, Louis Vuitton

Key Takeaways:

  • After a secret struggle with a rare form of cancer, Abloh, fashion’s most well-known Black designer, died on November 28 at 41.
  • He had been forwarded to manage across LVMH’s 75 brands as recently as July.

When Billie Essco found himself in a deep room beneath the Louvre Museum in January last year, backstage before a presentation for fashion designer Virgil Abloh’s luxury streetwear label Off-White.

Essco, a 31-year-old Black American musician, artist, and clothes designer from Buffalo, New York, had decided on the spur of the minute to travel to Paris with his friend, rapper Westside Gunn, in the hopes of slipping into a show during Fashion Week.

He would never have imagined hanging around with Abloh, who, in addition to being the founder of Off-White, was also the menswear designer for Louis Vuitton, the world’s most prestigious luxury brand, which is owned by the French conglomerate LVMH.

Designed by fashion artist Louis Vuitton; Image from WWD

“I’ve been channeling this man, his energy, or his designs for the last five years, also now I’m here seeing things that the rest of the world hasn’t seen yet,” said Essco, aka Uptown Chase.

“Fashion was such a tight-knit, niche thing, it was a kind of insider, ‘if you know, you know’ thing I believe Virgil opened it up for people like me to come in, into this group.”

After a quiet struggle with a rare form of cancer, Abloh, fashion’s most well-known Black designer, died on Sunday November 28 at the age of 41.

Alessandro Michele of Gucci and Donatella Versace of Versace have praised his vision as creative directors at rival companies. On Tuesday, a tribute runway show of his final collection was held in Miami, attracting a high-profile crowd including his long-time friend, musician, and fashion designer Ye formerly known as Kanye West and LVMH billionaire boss Bernard Arnault.

But his name and influence resonated far beyond the traditional, rarefied world of luxury for people like Essco, skateboarding teenagers in his hometown of Chicago, and orphaned West African refugees in Paris playing for a French amateur football team in Abloh-designed T-shirts.

Source: Indianexpress News

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