Star of the millenials and king of luxury streetwear, the American designer Virgil Abloh, creator of the men's collections of the house Louis Vuitton, died Sunday of cancer at the age of 41 years, announced the group LVMH, parent company of Vuitton.
The first major black designer recognized on the fashion scene, committed to the affirmation of African-American cultures, the designer fan of hip-hop had landed in 2018 one of the most envied positions in the fashion and luxury sector, within the flagship label of LVMH, number one in the world of luxury. The LVMH group, the House of Louis Vuitton and Off-White are deeply saddened to announce the passing of Virgil Abloh, struck down this Sunday, November 28, by a cancer he had been fighting for several years, LVMH said on its Twitter account.
The son of Ghanaian immigrants, he was married and had two children, Lowe and Grey Abloh. The disease he had been fighting for two years had not been made public. He has chosen to endure his battle in private since his diagnosis in 2019 of cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare malignant tumor located in the heart, his family explained in a post on the designer's Instagram account, mentioning many difficult treatments.
An artist of infinite curiosity, he created pathways for more equality in art and design, hailed his family, who call for respect for his privacy to mourn and celebrate the life of Virgil.
The announcement of his death has prompted a number of emotional reactions around the world. Kim Jones, at Dior Homme and Fendy (and Virgil Abloh's predecessor at Vuitton), paid tribute on Instagram to one of the nicest people you could meet.
Virgil Abloh was born on September 30, 1980 in Rockford, Illinois, USA.
The hip-hop fan began DJing in high school before graduating from the University of Wisconsin with degrees in civil engineering and architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology.
In the early 2000s, he became an art consultant for Kanye West, advising the rapper on his album covers and concert set designs.
King of luxury streetwear, he had established himself in a few years as one of the coolest designers with a public of connected millennials. Awarded many times for his work, the prestigious British Fashion Awards Urban Luxe award had been awarded to him in 2017 and 2018, among others.
His January 2021 collection for Louis Vuitton, unveiled as part of the virtual fashion week in Paris, was in the form of an anti-racist and anti-homophobic performance by American rappers.
Virgil Abloh had questioned how stereotypes and uniforms related to professions and lifestyles shape personality, striving to change these preconceived notions. Fashion is a tool for shaping these identities subconsciously, we trust a silhouette in a suit and are suspicious when we see the outline of a hoodie, read the notes accompanying the collection.
He had created in 2012 a first label, Pyrex Vision. A year later, Off-White was born, a luxury streetwear brand that imposed itself by the strength of its graphics before evolving into more couture creations.
LVMH had reached an agreement in July with Virgil Abloh to become a majority shareholder of his brand Off-White. The designer welcomed the power and dimension that LVMH brought to accelerate our momentum and make Off-White a true luxury brand.