Photographs Courtesy of Louis Vuitton/WWD
As dusk settled into the cold Miami sky, a singular hot air balloon climbed up towards the heavens amidst an explosion of fireworks, signifying the beginning of Louis Vuitton’s Tribute for the brand’s late designer Virgil Abloh.
Previously, the December 1st Louis Vuitton menswear show was a S/S 2022 spin-off debuting 30 new looks. However, after the passing of the French luxury maison’s creative director on the 28th of November due to a battle with cancer, the show became a tribute celebrating the artistic genius.
Besides being the first Black creative director of Louis Vuitton, Abloh was also one of the founders and creative director of the brand Off-White. His career in fashion launched when he interned at Fendi in Rome with Kanye West in 2009 which led to West naming Abloh as the creative director for his agency Donda. Then, Pyrex Vision was launched in 2012 in New York with one-of-a-kind deadstock Ralph Lauren flannel shirts, and eventually the brand was revamped into the menswear label Off-White in 2013. After growing this brand and winning the British Fashion Award for Urban Luxe Brand in 2017, Abloh was named artistic director for Louis Vuitton’s menswear division.
The tribute show titled ‘Virgil was Here’ begins with Abloh’s voice saying, “I’ve been on this focus in terms of my art and creativity, of getting adults to behave like children again. That they go back into this sense of wonderment.” These words rang true as thirty models walked down the runway with pieces that released all forms of restraint: “neon and tie-dye suiting, puffball skirts and kilts, LV monogram sportswear, looks that defied convention” (Wallpaper). Certainly, a naivety and renewed sense of imagination was breathed into the 167 year-old French maison that evening. As the show came to a close, a light show began to dance across the stadium as fanciful multi-colored fireworks splashed on the night sky, once again reminding the audience to connect to their childhood sense of wonderment. Outside the stadium stood a 30-foot rainbow-colored statue of Abloh with a LV case tucked beneath one arm. Although the drones above spelled out the phrase, “Virgil was here,” the world of fashion did not need a reminder for the legacy left behind from the visionary Virgil Abloh.