Well, the rumours were true. Virgil Abloh was this morning officially announced as the new artistic director of Louis Vuitton menswear, filling the empty space left by his friend Kim Jones (who, according to an Instagram post, starts at Dior today).
If you don’t know who Virgil is (though tbh, not sure how you’ve managed that), the Illinois-born designer first caught attention back in 2012 with PYREX, the project that saw him printing a logo onto basketball shorts and Ralph Lauren button downs. From there, Off-White developed. Known for its horizontal line print, the label has been showing in Paris since 2015, last year releasing an internet-breaking collaboration with Nike.
Seeing as the designer’s work has often carried the label of streetwear, his appointment at such a historic house may come as a surprise to some. Really though, Abloh’s output is about bridging the gap between street culture and high fashion. “I take that label, ‘streetwear’, I wear that as a badge, sort of rejecting it as a common denominating term,” he told us back in 2016. “It’s like I’m trying to define what that word means within high fashion. My thing is (doing) both, not ‘and’ or ‘or’.” Also, that Vuitton has historically made ready to wear is a misconception – both the men’s and women’s lines began in 1997 with the appointment of Marc Jacobs.
"(Abloh’s) sensibility towards luxury and savoir-faire will be instrumental in taking Louis Vuitton’s menswear into the future" said Michael Burke, Louis Vuitton’s Chairman & CEO, who met the designer when he was working at Fendi in 2006.
"It is an honour for me to accept the position of Men’s Artistic Director for Louis Vuitton. I find the heritage and creative integrity of the House are key inspirations and will look to reference them both while drawing parallels to modern times." Came a statement from Virgil Abloh.
With his first show in June, we won’t have to wait long to see what Virgil’s Vuitton is all about.