What Virgil Abloh Has to Do

Fashion / April 12, 2018

I won’t deny that Virgil Abloh has achieved a lot in the past few years. In 2009, he opened RSVP Gallery which sered as an art gallery and a menswear boutique. This signaled his official shift from civil engineering to fashion design. You’ve got to hand it to they guy, he’s got courage.

At the same time, Virgil became the creative director of DONDA, Kanye West’s label. The follow-up to this big career triumph came soon after with Pyrex Vision, his first fashion label. I think this is where you can see how Virgil started perfecting his aesthetic. Pyrex Vision’s top wares were screen-printed logos on shirts from Champion and Ralph Lauren.

Pyrex Vision closed down in 2012 to giveway to Off-White. The brand full of quotation marks became a favorite among Beyonce, Jay-Z, Rihanna, and  A$AP Rocky. Though he is definitely not the first to create a luxury streetwear brand, it feels like Virgil brought it reneed recognition and respect. Looking as effortless and edgy as possible, adapting to the look of the man on the street for $$$ is the social media savvy’s way to luxury.

The definition of luxury is key here, I think. Virgil’s latest success is being appointed as Louis Vuitton’s artistic director for menswear is great one aspect. But I feel Virgil needs to prove himself this time. Off-White may be a success to the new set of fashionphiles but Louis Vuitton is brand made from a long heritage. There are almost fables about the brand which started our in 1854. What started out as a Paris boutique for tunkscases and other leather goods is one of the biggest fashion names globally. Of late, it’s played with its style through introducing a video game character as a model and through collabs artists like Jeff Koons and Takashi Murakami. When I think of Louis Vuitton, I don’t think of the streets. It’s a different definition of luxury.

So don’t hate me for saying I have some doubts about Virgil’s appointment. It’s great that the fashion world is opening up more oppurtunities but I can’t help but wonder if part of the decision to get Virgil was simply to create buzz. Buzz that the age-old brand didn’t use to deal with. Remember, LV, is much older than Instagram.

Virgil’s achievements are impressive and Off-White’s influence among its peers is undeniable. But I think I’m going to pay extra attention to how he fits with Louis Vuitton. As a stylist, Virgil is great. But menswear under Louis Vuitton is a whole different story. There’s a lot the Virgil needs to consider. There’s a lot as an artistic director that Virgil hasn’t shown us but needs to have. I think that’s why the critics are divided. I think that’s why it’s both exciting to see what Virgil will do and if it will fit the narrative Louis Vuitton has created around the word luxury.

Fashion, Louis Vuitton, Luxury, Virgil Abloh