The elaboration of mourning often coincides with that moment in which we clarify the cause-and-effect relationships that have led a phenomenon, a person, to become important in a certain community. Virgil Abloh died yesterday, November 28, 2021, after discreetly hiding an angiosarcoma diagnosed in 2019. It’s hard to exhaust Abloh’s relevance in the self-referential bubble that is contemporary culture. No one like Virgil in the last 10 years has been able to read the zeitgest connecting a past as an architect, a career as a DJ, then designer and couturier, defining the new role of the creative director in fashion. The continuous reworking of the present in Abloh’s work has made him one of the most divisive figures of the last 10 years in the fashion world. Between those who recognized his prodigy to those who “could have done it too.” Right after launching Pyrex, with Off-White Virgil Abloh together with Kanye West inaugurated a tachycardic fashion, fueled by the desire, the urgency to belong to THAT moment of contemporary culture, culminating with the release of “The Ten” with Nike. Everyone identified with Abloh, he was pure spokesman of street art expressions and contended Dauphin of the biggest fashion houses, until he became Creative Director of Louis Vuitton.
Virgil Abloh accepted to be tempted by lightness, brought from Chicago to the rainbow catwalks of Paris. He has broken internal barriers within the industry, treating his collections as a product, whose use is explained through instructions written in quotes, as if to resize the scaffolding of a fashion so far away from everyone compared to how we know it today. Virgil, like many great creatives, understood the importance of branding an idea, creating totems as moments of identification, while he diluted even more the boundaries of his work, escaping any kind of categorization. Virgil Abloh was a moment rather than an end, he could be found at parties halfway around the world as a DJ, at collection presentations or in the artistic direction of projects for the biggest artists of the moment.
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One of the most touching greetings is the one from Louis Vuitton. With a video posted on Instagram, the brand pays tribute to the life and legacy left by Virgil Abloh, announcing that the new Spring-Summer 2022 will be presented on November 30 in Miami. The collection will be called “Virgil was here”, the preview video shows a child running on a bicycle along the streets of Miami, giving up by dropping on the beach and starting again, until reaching a red hot air balloon that will lead the child in the direction in which he was looking at the beginning of the video. Virgil was here, in quotes, one of the greatest communicators of fashion as we understand it today, capable of defining that gray space between black and white.