Star of millennials and king of luxury streetwear, American designer Virgil Abloh, creator of Louis Vuitton men’s collections, died Sunday of cancer at the age of 41, announced the LVMH group, parent company of Vuitton.
First great black designer recognized on the fashion scene, committed to the affirmation of African-American cultures, the hip-hop fan stylist had landed in 2018 one of the most envied positions in the fashion and luxury sector. , within the flagship label of LVMH, world number one in luxury. “The LVMH group, Maison Louis Vuitton and Off-White have the immense sorrow to announce the disappearance of Virgil Abloh, struck down this Sunday November 28 by a cancer which he fought for several years”, LVMH said on its Twitter account.
The son of Ghanaian immigrants, he was married with two children, Lowe and Gray Abloh. The disease he had been fighting for two years had not been made public. “He has chosen to endure his fight in private since his diagnosis in 2019” of cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare malignant tumor located in the heart, explained his family in a post on the designer’s Instagram account, mentioning of “many difficult treatments”.
Artist of a “infinite curiosity”, he created “ways for more equality in art and design “, greeted his family who called for respect for his privacy to mourn and “celebrating the life of Virgil”.
Bernard Arnault, Chairman of LVMH, said “shocked”, greeting “a genius designer, a visionary” and “a beautiful soul“.
The announcement of his death sparked a number of emotional reactions around the world. Kim Jones, at Dior Homme and Fendy (and predecessor of Virgil Abloh at Vuitton), paid tribute on Instagram to “one of the nicest people you could meet”.
“He will be sorely missed although his vision will endure through the paths he has traced throughout his career.“, reacted the Gucci house (Kering group).
“Virgil Abloh was the essence of modern creativity”, said Alexandre Arnault, vice-president of Tiffany, on Instagram.
“No one will forget the imprint you left“, tweeted for his part footballer Kylian Mbappé.
“Your work as a human and your work as a spiritual being will live on forever”, said the American rapper Pharrell Williams on the social network.
“Rest in power” (rests in power), tweeted actor Omar Sy.
Virgil Abloh was born on September 30, 1980 in the United States, in Rockford (Illinois).
The hip-hop fan began his DJ activities in high school before graduating with degrees in civil engineering from the University of Wisconsin and architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
In the early 2000s, he had become an artistic consultant for Kanye West, advising the rapper in particular on his record covers and the scenographies of his concerts.
Inclusiveness and anti-racism
King of luxury streetwear, he had established himself in a few years as one of the most “cools“to an audience of connected millennials. Rewarded many times for his work, the prestigious British Fashion Awards” Urban Luxe “award was awarded to him in 2017 and 2018, among others.
His January 2021 collection for Louis Vuitton, unveiled as part of Virtual Fashion Week in Paris, had been in the form of an anti-racist and anti-homophobic performance led by American rappers.
Virgil Abloh had questioned how stereotypes and uniforms related to professions and lifestyles shape personality, striving to change these preconceptions. “Fashion is a tool for shaping these identities (…) Unconsciously, we trust a figure in a suit and we are suspicious when we see the outline of a hooded sweatshirt“, could we read in the notes accompanying the collection.
In 2012, he created a first label, Pyrex Vision. A year later, Off-White was born, a luxury streetwear brand which imposed itself by the strength of its graphics before evolving towards more “creations”.couture“.
LVMH signed an agreement in July with Virgil Abloh to become the majority shareholder of its Off-White brand. The designer was pleased to “the necessary power and size” that LVMH brought “to accelerate our momentum and make Off-White a true luxury brand”.
LVMH also intended to expand its collaboration with the American to launch new brands and wanted “imagine new partnerships” with him, “beyond fashion”.
Abloh hoped to use its partnership with LVMH to “foster greater equity and inclusion in industries “ that he served.