Filmmaker Stephen Isaac-Wilson, choreographer Nicolas Huchard, and musical duo Tshegue discuss collaborating on the SS23 show in an exclusive short film for Dazed
Last season, Off-White celebrated Virgil Abloh’s legacy with a star-studded show that traversed the trailblazing designer greatest hits, but it was last week’s Paris presentation that truly saw the label turn toward the future (as per his wishes). Even the name, “CELEBRATION”, was meant to represent an appreciation of life and new beginnings.
Envisioned by Dazed editor-in-chief IB Kamara – who was appointed Art and Image Director earlier this year – the SS23 show marked a departure from the codes and concepts established by Abloh at the head of the label, hinting at a new, and very blue, direction that is more interested in the late designer’s free-spirited principles than simply remixing his old ideas. It’s hard to imagine that Abloh would disapprove of this future-facing approach, especially given his understanding relationship with Kamara, a longtime collaborator.
Plus, of course, the show wasn’t entirely without nods to Abloh’s legacy, from the traces of streetwear dotted throughout the collection, to the star-studded guest list that illustrated the cult-like following he amassed over the course of his career. Then, there was the emphasis on uplifting rising Black creatives and “taking chances on people” – a key element of Abloh’s rise to the apex of his industry. For SS23, this came in the form of collaborations with the likes of filmmaker Stephen Isaac-Wilson, dancer and choreographer Nicolas Huchard, and Faty Sy Savanet (of the Paris-based musical duo Tshegue).
In a new, exclusive short film for Dazed, these collaborators explain what it was like to work on IB Kamara’s first Off-White show, and take us behind the scenes in a series of candid interviews. “We wanted to celebrate Virgil and also Ibrahim [Kamara]... live music, fashion, and dance,” Nicolas explains, adding that this was a “special show” to work on. “It’s like a very imaginary world.”
“The process was very deep,” adds Faty, who appears in the film alongside bandmate Nicolas ‘Dakou’ Dacunha – both performed live atop a huge white cube during the show itself. “Thinking about how we can mix all this energy from Africa… from the new generation.”
Stephen Isaac-Wilson, meanwhile, speaks more on the specifics of the show itself, including the symbolic significance of the “Impossible Blue” colour scheme. “I think the colour blue was interesting because it allowed us to have a vibe and tone that felt really calm, and then counterbalance that with a more intense performance,” he says. “Also, it’s a colour which signifies a reset, signifies peace. There’s so much joy within it.”
The respect for each individual creator in the film is palpable, as is their respect for Virgil Abloh, and the care with which they handled his legacy. This reverence isn’t completely surprising, of course, even as Off-White emerges from under its founder’s shadow. After all, as Nicolas concludes: “Virgil will always be here, and every Off-White show will be a celebration of him. It has to be.”
Watch the full short film above.