Virgil Abloh obituary: 1980-2021 | Wallpaper*

Virgil Abloh, the male artistic director of Louis Vuitton and CEO of Off-White, has died at the age of 41. In a statement released tonight, November 28, 2021, LVMH, Louis Vuitton and Off-White announced Abloh’s death. cancer, which he had fought in private for several years.

A creative polymath and a diverse and revolutionary figure, Abloh is famous for transcending a multitude of creative fields, spanning fashion, art, design and music. Born in 1980 in Rockford, Ill. To Ghanaian immigrant parents, he earned degrees in civil engineering and architecture, two fields that propelled him from project to separate project – which he coordinated with Magic digital largely via WhatsApp – including collaborations with Harvard Graduate School of Design, Ikea, Nike, Takashi Murakami, Carpenters Workshop Gallery and Mercedes-Benz.

Abloh first entered the fashion industry in 2009, during an internship at the Roman house Fendi, alongside Kanye West. The passage encouraged a collaboration with the rapper, who appointed Abloh the creative director of his creative agency, Donda. In 2012, Abloh launched its first fashion brand, Pyrex Vision, a contraband-inspired brand that took inspiration from its democratic approach to design and screen-printed recycled pieces from renowned brands such as Ralph Lauren. “Whenever I’m presented with a design project, the first thing I identify with is the context,” Abloh told Wallpaper * in June 2019.

Virgil Abloh in 2019, with ‘Color Gradient Chair’ (2018). Photographed for Wallpaper * by Marvin Leuvrey

Bridging the gap between luxury streetwear fashion, Abloh launched the Off-White brand, also in 2012, a menswear and womenswear brand renowned for its semiotic-driven approach to design, using apostrophes and asterisks as patterns. . In 2017, “The Ten” saw the reinterpretation of ten iconic Nike silhouettes, including the Air Jordan 1, the Nike Air VaporMax, the Nike Force 1 Low and the Converse Chuck Taylor, which were reworked using collages. , lettering, tongue-in-cheek labels like plastic tags and zip ties and raw and sculpted finishes. The shoes sold out within minutes of launch and Nike’s SNKRS app crashed due to unprecedented traffic.

In 2018, Abloh was appointed male artistic director of Louis Vuitton, one of the few black designers to run a luxury French fashion house. The appointment marked an important moment for POC’s representation in the fashion industry. Her first home fashion show, held outdoors in the gardens of the Palais-Royal in Paris, featured models descending a rainbow runway.

Abloh didn’t see himself as a designer, but as an “image maker” – his book published by Harvard University Graduate School of Design and Sternberg Press, Insert a complicated title here, presented a series of his “cheat codes” to work and design. These include “Signs of“ Work in Progress ”- working without a perfectionist mindset; work according to “A societal commentary”; and “Ask Your Mentors”.

Obituary portrait of Virgil Abloh

Virgil Abloh Book

Top, Louis Vuitton S / S 2019. Above, front cover of Insert a complicated title here by Virgil Abloh

In 2019, “Virgil Abloh: Figures of Speech” opened at MCA Chicago, celebrating Abloh’s career to date, spanning projects ranging from his DJ and high jewelry design, to Ikea collaborations and Nike. The show, designed by longtime Abloh collaborators OMA, opened with a new release in November 2021 at the Doha Fire Station. A poignant section, Black Gaze, analyzes Abloh’s role in challenging the fashion and design industry’s long-standing exclusion of black talent, and his ability to provide other people of color with a global platform.

Virgil Abloh and wallpaper *

Last year, Wallpaper * invited Abloh to resume limited edition subscriber coverage of its September 2020 Style special. In the most groundbreaking addition to Wallpaper’s limited edition cover series to date – understated , tactile and radical – Abloh urged the reader to cut the magazine in half with a scissor graphic. The act was intended to showcase the magazine as an object. As a further part of his takeover, Abloh personally cut and autographed 184 copies of the magazine, titled 2 for the price of 1. The cutting took place on August 25, 2020, at the premises of Oetee, a regular collaborator of Abloh, and the numbers were available for purchase (financing of a fashion scholarship project) on canary — yellow. com, an open access site dedicated to his incredible output of work.

Cover of the limited edition Virgil Abloh Wallpaper September 2020

“Virgil transcended culture and broke down borders. It was a real pleasure to work with him – a creative force – engaged, intelligent, connected, collaborative and warm. We have lost a truly positive spirit, its impact and legacy will continue, ”says Sarah Douglas, Editor-in-Chief of Wallpaper *.

Famous for his humility, kindness and soft voice, Abloh was famous for supporting others, championing a further diversification of industries associated with elitism and inspiring a new generation of creatives. A growing and talented group of names have gained his support and mentorship, including Samuel Ross and Heron Preston. In August 2020, he launched the fashion scholarship fund ‘POST-MODERN ‘, which is dedicated to fostering equity and inclusion within the fashion industry by offering scholarships to promising students of Black, African American and African descent. The scholarships are managed in partnership with the Fashion Scholarship Fund (FSF), an American nonprofit association that supports the future of fashion. It also includes the “Free Play” Mentorship Series, a free how-to guide website accessible to anyone.

“It’s important that the door stays open for kids like me,” Abloh told Wallpaper * in September 2020. “The future of fashion, the future of design, the future of management and all of those careers are here. an urgent matter. It is vital that figures like me incorporate an element into their work to strengthen this effort. He will be sadly missed by his wife and children. §

Virgil Abloh cover for Wallpaper * magazine September 2020

Portrait of Virgil Abloh

Above, Virgil Abloh invites readers to cut along the dotted line for his September 2020 Limited Edition Style Special cover design, a nod to the physicality and tactility of the print magazine. Above, Virgil Abloh, pictured in September 2020, for the launch of the Geländewagen project with Mercedes-Benz. Photography: Bafic

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