This most recent Louis Vuitton fashion show at Men’s Paris Fashion Week was a monumental one in terms of the hype building up around the show regarding Virgil Abloh, creator of Off-White, and his first collection as the head artistic director of Louis Vuitton. This was a monumental moment in fashion itself as Virgil is the first African American artistic director of the famous Paris fashion house and one of the few to be a leading influence at the level he is at. What Virgil has been able to accomplish in what seems like just a couple years time from his beginnings with his brand Pyrex Vision to Off-White to his collection with Nike it seems that Virgil has almost reached the pinnacle. To Virgil Abloh though I believe he cares more about just spreading the culture that he was brought up into this industry in.
Virgil Abloh and Kanye West have known each other and have been close creative partners since the early 2000s. Virgil has worked on a lot of different projects with Kanye before ultimately breaking off to step out of Kanye’s shadow, not necessarily creatively but Virgil wanted to make a name for himself. Virgil did this by creating his brand Pyrex Vision back in 2012 which was his first venture into the world of high fashion. Pyrex Vision consisted mostly of screen printing onto Champion blanks and old Ralph Lauren flannels, not exactly revolutionary, but Virgil was able to charge upwards of 500 dollars for the pieces and they would sell. Virgil eventually folded the brand and started Off-White with a crew of Italian streetwear aficionados. Off-White would pick up right where Pyrex Vision left off charging astronomical prices for mostly screen printed streetwear. But Off-White would grow into a Nike collaboration and establish it as one of the most sought-after brands in streetwear today. This would ultimately be Virgil’s foot in the door when it came to breaking into the world of high fashion houses like Louis Vuitton.
Now during Men’s Paris Fashion Week everyone patiently waiting to see what Virgil would do with his introductory show as the artistic director of Louis Vuitton. Virgil showcased to the world and to everyone in attendance a beautiful gradient painted pavement runway outdoors in a garden in Paris. Virgil really delivered when it came to the overall presentation of the environment around the garments. But the garments and accessories were nothing like Louis Vuitton has ever had before from transparent gradient rainbow luggage to ceramic white chains draped over the models and as straps for the luggage. After having various streetwear icons and celebrities from the likes of Kid Cudi, Playboi Carti, Blondey McCoy and A$AP Nast you can really tell that this show was all about the culture that Virgil Abloh came from. That is why Kanye, seated front row, when Virgil walked out at the end got so emotional. Kanye was able to see one of his very close friends and collaborators not only ascend to the pinnacle of fashion for African Americans today but was able to be a part of it with his new album being played during the show. Kanye has been skeptical of Virgil leaving his side and branching out in becoming one of today’s fashion moguls but he’s finally been able to come to terms with it in this most recent embrace at the end of Virgil’s very first show as the artistic director of Louis Vuitton.