The designer's halo might help the firm continue to shine, according to his postmortem presentation, which was held in the sky.
The late designer, who died in November of a rare disease, referenced the film's wide-eyed voyage over the rainbow as a mirror for his personal experience in his maiden collection for the French giant. Abloh, a Black guy from the Chicago suburbs with no formal fashion experience, developed the luxury streetwear sensation Off-White before ascending to become the world's largest luxury brand's menswear creative director.
Virgil Abloh's 2018 debut for Louis Vuitton took place on a rainbow-colored runway reminiscent of Oz's yellow brick road, flanked by hundreds of fashion students who had been invited to see the show (and were urged to follow in the designer's footsteps). This is his final appearance for the company. Dancers and models traversed the top of a "Dreamhouse" dug into the sky-blue runway on Thursday, mimicking the Kansas home carried away by a tornado in the film.
Students from the École Duperré design school across the street packed around the windows to catch a peek of the spectacle while an orchestra performed a piece by Tyler the Creator. Loc Prigent, a fashion documentary filmmaker, commented, "Virgil would have adored that."
Fashion giants like the Arnault family and Naomi Campbell, as well as music, sports, and film luminaries like Skepta, Mos Def, and Venus Williams, were among the crowd, which was split into two showings.
The collection, like the set, went for the stars, with a combination of opulent suiting and streetwear shapes transformed via couture-level details. It was on its way to completion when Abloh died, according to Louis Vuitton. Velvet, satin, sequins, lace, and patchwork were used to reimagine jean jackets and bombers. In a piece produced in Japan, one canvas jacket combined a shredded floral design with faded logo-print denim. "The Painter's Studio," a masterpiece by Gustave Courbet, was featured in other looks.
The exhibition ended with a figure donning massive white wings that appeared to be made of kites. The usage of white veils, a homage to the tradition of couture presentations concluding with a wedding, was equally lovely, except that the veils were fastened to baseball hats on the boys. It was a great illustration of Virgil's proclivity for crashing fashion parties, as well as his habit of flipping something familiar on its head with little tweaks.
Following the presentation, Virgil's whole design studio, as well as Louis Vuitton's menswear atelier's largely unsung "petites mains," marched onto the set to hug the models and take an emotional bow, bringing the crowd to its feet.
Abloh creates a lasting impression. He redefined the position of the creative director at Off-White, renouncing top-down style edicts in favor of a culture of openness and interchange with his community, as well as a slew of collaborations with brands both inside and outside the fashion industry. He took similar ideals to Vuitton as well, at a time when a new generation of fashion buyers, well-versed in the culture of remixing and riffing seen in hip-hop and online memes, was gaining purchasing power.
However, the tale of Louis Vuitton will continue, and conjecture about who may succeed Abloh occupied column inches this week. Abloh's protégés and partners, such as stylist Ibrahim Kamara, who worked closely with the late designer, Nigo, the Japanese designer and streetwear doyen (who just joined Kenzo), and A-Cold-Wall creator Samuel Ross, might be tapped in a quest for continuity.
Despite this, Abloh leaves the company in fantastic form, still basking in the warmth of his halo. HSBC expects 2021 revenues of €16.7 billion ($18.9), up from €10.8 billion when he joined in 2018. Parent firm LVMH does not break out sales for individual brands. The designer didn't stop at Vuitton's runway displays; he also developed popular accessories and reworked the brand's more mainstream menswear collections. The Thursday collection will not be available until May.
Vuitton will have to end the chapter at some point, but due to the continuous adoration for Abloh's designs, it may take some time to do so.