Just last week, Megs and I were discussing the need to do more coverage on Off-White, designer Virgil Abloh’s ascendant fashion label that has managed to land its relatively new line of bags on some of the most coveted shoulders in the fashion world. Fans include models and street style stars like Chanel Iman, Karlie Kloss and Caro Daur, and the streetwear-cool, perfectly quirky Off-White Binder Clip Bag, which was the brand’s first big women’s accessory launch, showed Abloh’s considerable potential in the leather goods market. Now, he’s going to be exploring that side of the industry in a big way: Virgil Abloh is the next men’s creative director at Louis Vuitton.
I saw the news yesterday while waiting for the elevator and scrolling through my phone, which is the kind of quick, casual situation in which your brain makes instinctual judgements, and my immediate reaction to Abloh’s appointment was, Oh, that’s perfect. That’s so perfect it almost seems obvious. Abloh’s predecessor Kim Jones, who recently left to take up the menswear helm at Dior, built a thriving men’s division through, among other things, an adept incorporation of streetwear trends, peaking with Vuitton’s collaboration with Supreme last year. Abloh’s own work is also heavily referential and knowledgable of streetwear, which makes him the sort of designer who’s primed to expand and explore the brand’s existing success. He’ll continue to design Off-White while working at Louis Vuitton.
Maybe just as important, Abloh is perfectly positioned to offer Louis Vuitton up to the cool, young, upwardly mobile shoppers that luxury brand crave but have a difficult time speaking to. He’s practically a household name already among fashion-interested millennials, and his work with longtime collaborator Kanye West and partnerships with brands like Nike and Timberland give him a particular cultural fluency in American hip hop, which is already an enormous driver in global men’s fashion trends. Abloh will also be the first African-American man to lead one of LVMH’s brands. He’s starting at the top.
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