Virgil Abloh: One of the most eagerly awaited designers at Paris Fashion Week

Virgil Abloh is also known for his many partnerships in the world of fashion. — AFP pic
Virgil Abloh is also known for his many partnerships in the world of fashion. — AFP pic

PARIS, Sept 17 — Along with Karl Lagerfeld, Maria Grazia Chiuri, and Hedi Slimane, who will certainly be in the spotlight at the next Paris Fashion Week (from September 24 to October 2), another designer is likely to stand out from the crowd. American Virgil Abloh, who was appointed artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear in March of this year, is to present the latest collection by his label Off-White. In the runup to his show later this month, now is the time for a look back on the extraordinary career of this highly versatile designer, who has charmed the public and the fashion sphere since the launch of his brand in in 2013.

Virgil Abloh, who grew up a few kilometres from Chicago, is in every sense of the word exceptional. Unlike most of his peers, the American has no particular qualification in fashion, but a design background that initially began with degrees in civil engineering and architecture. A DJ and close associate of Kanye West, Virgil Abloh set out in the world of ready-to-wear, determined to bridge the gap between streetwear and couture, with the launch of his label Off-White in 2013.

Streetwear that segues into luxury

It was an initiative that did not go unnoticed; sportswear and streetwear have both been taking center stage in recent years, not just in urban youth culture, but also on catwalks and red carpets. And there is no doubt that with his Off-White label, which mixes influences from both of these spheres with intricate and sophisticated finishes from the world of luxury fashion, Virgil Abloh has been a key contributor to this trend. The young designer quickly attracted a following, with work that not only appealed to a generation of millennials, but also won praise from models and fashion icons, along with stars from the worlds of sports and music. Rihanna, Naomi Campbell, Bella Hadid, and even Kim Kardashian: the designer was soon being referenced by the most influential celebrities on social networks.

As a result, in the space of just a few seasons, shows by the Off-White label have become some of the most anticipated events in traditional fashion weeks. And perhaps even more importantly, Virgil Abloh has already succeeded in his bid to bridge the gap between streetwear and luxury fashion with creations that have found favor with a wide-ranging public. The man who was previously dubbed “the King of Streetwear” even made the transition himself, when he was appointed menswear artistic director at Louis Vuitton in the spring of this year.

Collaborations galore

Virgil Abloh is also known for his many partnerships in the world of fashion. Here too, the designer has demonstrated an openness to many fields and styles, notably in joint ventures with luxury shoemaker Jimmy Choo, and such household names as Nike, Levi’s, and Ikea. In the month of August, the American once again joined forces with sports equipement maker Nike to create the dance-inspired “Queen” collection for tennis champion Serena Williams. Yet another venture that will represent a further step on the ladder to success. Meanwhile, at Paris Fashion Week on September 27, the fashion crowd will get a glimpse of the latest collection by the man who could well be remembered as “the designer” of 2018. — AFP-Relaxnews

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