CONFIRMED! Louis Vuitton Hires Virgil Abloh As It New Men’s Artistic Director; Will Show His First Collection In June
PARIS, FRANCE –– Louis Vuitton hires Virgil Abloh as new menswear artistic director. The news confirms our original story which we published last week (see it here).
LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton has hired Off-White‘s founder and designer Virgil Abloh to lead men’s design at the Louis Vuitton. He becomes Louis Vuitton’s first African-American artistic director, and one of the few black designers at the top of a French heritage house. Olivier Rousteing is the creative director of Balmain, and Ozwald Boateng, from Britain, was the designer for Givenchy menswear from 2003 to 2007.
“I feel elated,” Abloh said to the NY Times via phone on Sunday, adding that he planned to relocate his family to Paris to take the job at the largest brand in the stable of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, the world’s largest luxury group. “This opportunity to think through what the next chapter of design and luxury will mean at a brand that represents the pinnacle of luxury was always a goal in my wildest dreams. And to show a younger generation that there is no one way anyone in this kind of position has to look is a fantastically modern spirit in which to start.”
The streetwear designer, succeeds Kim Jones, who exited the house and showed his final collection (fall 2018 menswear) on Thursday (January 18) during Paris Fashion Week (see it here). Jones took up the plum design role at Dior Homme (see it here).
Abloh will show his first collection in June during Men’s Fashion Week in the French capital.
“Having followed with great interest Virgil’s ascent since he worked with me at Fendi in 2006, I am thrilled to see how his innate creativity and disruptive approach have made him so relevant, not just in the world of fashion but in popular culture today,” said Michael Burke, chairman and chief executive officer of Louis Vuitton.
“His sensibility towards luxury and savoir-faire will be instrumental in taking Louis Vuitton’s menswear into the future,” he added.
The executive was referring to the period when Abloh was an intern at Fendi alongside Kanye West, in their bid to learn more about the luxury industry. Burke was CEO of Fendi at the time, and Abloh is West’s longtime creative director.
“It is an honor 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,” Abloh said in a statement.
In the past, Abloh has teamed with a broad spectrum of brands, from Ikea and Byredo to Jimmy Choo, Warby Parker, Moncler, Umbro and Sunglass Hut.
Alexandre Arnault, Co-CEO of German luggage maker Rimowa, also controlled by LVMH, confirmed on Monday its collaboration with Off-White would be hitting stores this summer.
Abloh launched Off-White online in late 2013. The brand held its first showroom presentation in Paris the following January with designs that merged influences ranging from Bauhaus to sports apparel and Caravaggio. It established the brand signifier: thick diagonal stripes that have become a byword for insider cool. Eighteen months later, Abloh expanded into womenswear and staged his first runway show.
The brand made it onto the shortlist of the 2015 edition of the LVMH Prize for Young Fashion Designers, crystallizing the advent of streetwear as a credible challenger to the luxury status quo, and cementing close ties to the French luxury group. Abloh becomes the first finalist of the prize to snag a major design post within the group.
Trained as a civil engineer and architect, he rose to prominence as a DJ, cofounder of concept store RSVP Gallery in his hometown of Chicago, and creative director for West. He made his fashion debut in 2012 with the launch of Pyrex Vision, a short-lived label that spawned a following among streetwear aficionados.
Off-White won the Urban Luxe award at the British Fashion Awards last December, and Abloh was named International Designer of the Year at last year’s GQ Men of the Year Awards.
Off-White belongs to New Guards Group, the Milan-based company that produces and distributes Marcelo Burlon County of Milan, Palm Angels, Unravel and United Standard.
Photos Credit: Simone Lezzi/WWD