Last November, the fashion industry was rocked by the loss of maverick and pioneering multi-hyphenated designer Virgil Abloh.
Aged 41, Abloh’s sudden death, age 41, came after a two-year battle with a rare cancer, one he’d kept secret from everyone but his family.
Now, Abloh’s pivotal high fashion label Off-White has returned to the runway at Paris Fashion Week to honour and celebrate the legacy of the late creative director.
The Fall/Winter collection, which was designed by Abloh himself, was a commemoration of the designer’s cultural relevance, with house codes including the infamous quote marks, zip tags, street style influences and high glamour infused into every creation.
Mother-daughter supermodel duo Cindy Crawford and Kaia Gerber walked the runway, as did Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen, Adut Akech , Kendall Jenner, and Gigi and Bella Hadid–all friends of the late Abloh.
On the runway it was a solemn affair, celebrating the great contributions Abloh made to the industry with references to his life-long mission to “question everything”. Backstage it was a celebration of life.
The supermodels were sisters in arms, walking together joined by their mutual love for the prolific designer.
On the front row, soon-to-be parents A$AP Rocky and Rihanna also joined in on the family memo, giving their little one an education on the importance of Black creatives, even before they’re born.
Each of the 84 looks sent down the runway, in true Abloh fashion, encouraged and challenged us to revere the unexpected, or the grey area between black and white known as Off-White which the label takes its namesake from.
It goes without saying, but the celebrity style set turned up to pay tribute to Abloh. It was a family affair for the ages.
Abloh created a fashion family, a community where all is invited and everyone has a seat at the table.
But if you think the famous faces were gathering to bid the designer one final goodbye, you’ll be happily mistaken.
Hours before the runway show, the Business Of Fashion released their report on the future of Off-White without Virgil Abloh.
As per executives at the New Guards Group and LVMH, the next chapter of the brand will have a goal to “harness the legacy” of Abloh by executing out the “endless” ideas that have amassed.
“The fuel being poured into the brand, it’s for decades, for centuries”, Off-White CEO Andrea Grilli revealed.
“Virgil would have wanted us to do it. He always said this has to be a multi-generational brand; our kids need to go on Rodeo Drive and Rue Saint-Honoré and see it.”
As for who will be taking up the mantle of creative director in Abloh’s absence?
The report revealed the brand will be taking a “collective” approach, with a focus on exploring multiple potential avenues “key to keeping the unique spirit of Off-Brand going strong for future generations”.