LUIS VUITTON NAMES VIRGIL ABLOH AS ITS NEW CREATIVE DIRECTOR FOR MEN’S FASHION WEAR
Popular fashion label, Luis Vuitton has just named Virgil Abloh as its new creative director for men’s wear. Virgil Abloh is the creative director of Off-White and consultant to Kanye West.
37 yr old Mr. Abloh, is a first-generation Ghanaian-American raised in Illinois. The appointment, widely rumored in recent months, is part of a shake-up on the men’s wear side of LVMH, which began in January with the departure of Kim Jones, Mr. Abloh’s predecessor at Louis Vuitton.
Last week, it was announced that Mr. Jones would become the men’s wear designer at LVMH stablemate Christian Dior, replacing Kris van Assche. So Mr Abloh became the new creative director at Luis Vuitton.
Despite having no formal fashion education (his mother was a seamstress and taught him her trade; he studied architecture and civil engineering), Mr. Abloh founded Off-White in 2013, almost a decade after he first met Mr. West and became his creative partner. In 2015, Off-White was a finalist for the LVMH Young Designers Prize. (Mr. Abloh will be the first LVMH finalist to take on a major design role in an LVMH brand.)
Off-White currently has 3.1 million Instagram followers (Mr. Abloh alone has 1.6 million), and Mr. Abloh received the Urban Luxe award at the British Fashion Awards last year. During the just-past women’s wear season, there was almost a riot in the Rue Cambon outside the Off-White show as fans crowded to get in.
“Virgil is incredibly good at creating bridges between the classic and the zeitgeist of the moment,” said Michael Burke, chief executive of Louis Vuitton. The two men first met about 12 years ago when Mr. Abloh spent six months interning at Fendi with Kanye West, where Mr. Burke was then the chief executive.
“I paid them $500 a month!” Mr. Burke said. “I was really impressed with how they brought a whole new vibe to the studio and were disruptive in the best way. Virgil could create a metaphor and a new vocabulary to describe something as old-school as Fendi. I have been following his career ever since.”
A champion of the cross-branded collaboration, Mr. Abloh has worked with names as varied as Nike, Jimmy Choo, Moncler and, with an upcoming project, Ikea. Most recently, he teamed up with Takashi Murakami, a frequent Vuitton collaborator, for a show at the Gagosian Gallery in London.
It also presumably made a compelling case that Mr. Abloh could be the man to make Louis Vuitton men’s wear more relevant and more visible to the millennial generation. He will build on the foundation laid by Mr. Jones, who also gave classic men’s wear and Vuitton’s history as a luggage expert an urban edge, and recently engineered a sellout collaboration with Supreme, another street-wear success story.
Mr. Abloh also said he would be focused on rethinking how the brand communicated with its consumers, including the release of products, the runway show and the way it interacted with the global political mood.