Virgil Abloh: course of a streetwear virtuoso

Virgil Abloh: course of a streetwear virtuoso

Died this Sunday, November 28 of cancer, Virgil Abloh was one of the most talented fashion designers of his generation.Famous for his friendship with Kanye West, his Off-White brand, his appointment to the post of artistic director of men's collections of the Louis Vuitton house, but also for his involvement in setting up real diversity in creative circles, Virgil Abloh excelledtruly in all areas.Back to the life of a genius creator.

The beginnings of a visionary

Virgil Abloh was born on September 30, 1980 in Rockford, Illinois, in the United States.He obtained a civil engineering diploma, at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, then continued his training by embarking on modern technology studies.Subsequently, he will obtain a master's degree in architecture at the Illinois Institute Technology.

But Virgil Abloh has always had a particular attraction for the creative environment in all its forms.As a teenager, he begins to express his artistic fiber through music, and launches, timidly, as DJ: he mites pieces and reworks sounds to bring out a new work.From that moment, the beginnings of the vision of the designer begin to hatch.

Far from being in a classic approach, where we would try to compose collections, furniture or other works that ultimately only come out of your own subjectivity, Virgil Abloh prefers to take the opposite view.He plans to create in a completely new way, and prefers to work from existing fragments of our culture.A vision that he continues to work and still impose today in all areas he addresses.A winning bet of the designer who makes him, a being apart.

A start in remarkable fashion

In 2002 and only 22 years old, Virgil Abloh became the right arm of Kanye West and his stylist.Alongside the rapper and composer, he sees his role extending from the design of the album covers, the scenography, including the management of merchandising of the label of the label.

Virgil Abloh : parcours d'un virtuose du streetwear

But in 2009, his career took another turning point when he made his first steps in the fashion world.Then aged 29, he entered the internship in the Italian luxury house Fendi, in Rome, and found his lifelong friend Kanye West who also made his industry in this industry.Following this internship, the designer decides to launch his first concept store in his hometown, Chicago, alongside Don C, Co-Manager of Kanye West.In this place called RSVP Gallery, green neon lights shine on the works of the most popular streetwear designers of the moment that rub shoulders with the vintage pieces of the big brands of seamstresses.

It was in 2012 that the stylist made the decision to create his first label: Pyrex Vision.Famous for its “Pyrex 23” logo and its sober colors, the label was a flamboyant success.Thanks to capsule collections, where renowned artists - such as A $ AP Rocky - were able to affix their signatures, Virgil Abloh saw Pyrex settle in the most influential blind concepts alongside the biggest houses.A label which, despite its success, was closed a year later.An essential step in the development of a new project.

Off-White: the start of an empire

At the end of 2013, the project that will promote the genius of Virgil Abloh will be born, its first fashion clothing brand: Off-White.Based in Milan, the claw with black and white signature and diagonal stripes offers a high -end positioning, which quickly attracts an international audience.An empire was born.It is at Nicolas Ghesquière, and more precisely in his fall-winter 2012/2013 collection for Balenciaga, that Virgil Abloh will draw his inspiration.Will emanate from this a real fascination for the parts in the aesthetics of the street, which will however wear the names of the largest fashion houses.A red thread that will become the cornerstone of the whole concept off-white, and which continues to seduce.Today the brand has more than 10.6 million subscribers on its Instagram account.

A success that also goes through many collaborations, more daring each time.A way for Virgil Abloh to enrich his own creation of the gaze of other people he respects.While the label joined forces with Nike and upgraded exclusively 10 Fars models from the brand to the famous Swoosh, Virgil Abloh has decided to embark on ever more ambitious projects.Thus in 2017, the finalist of the 2015 LVMH Prize unveiled a project dedicated to interior design by combining with the Swedish giant Ikea.In 2018, it was Jimmy Choo who left for an off-white adventure, and this collaboration were born from silky pumps covered with PVC film.Then following an invitation from Gianna Reisen - younger choreographer of the New York City Ballet - Virgil Abloh was signed the monochrome costumes of the composer’s Holiday work, presented in the heart of Lincoln Center in January and February 2018.Collaborations that allow him to maintain the very essence of this multiplate-form brand, resulting from a subtle mixture of streetwear, luxury, art, which he defines as "the gray area between black and white".

The prodigal child at Louis Vuitton

On March 25, 2018, the surprise was total.Virgil Abloh is appointed artistic director for men's prestigious house collections Louis Vuitton.He then became one of the first colored designers in a haute couture house, like Olivier Rousteing at Balmain.A real springboard for those who have been campaigning for many years for the establishment of a diversity in creative circles.

Since arriving at the controls of the Malletier, the stylist does what he can do best: he rebuilt and refreshed.But despite all his good will, and a desire to create ever more ambitious projects, the stylist needed to mark a break in 2019 due to overwork.A dead time which allowed the virtuoso of streetwear to return in shape more than ever from 2020, and to make this luxury house founded 1854 again radiate with youth..For Louis Vuitton, Virgil Abloh keeps his line of conduct without distorting the very essence of this emblematic brand.While deconstructing obsolete archetypes, he offers each season a new interpretation of the male wardrobe.A genius that we will remember forever.