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Louis Vuitton creative director Virgil Abloh, who helped create a new look for the fashion house, has died at the age of 41.
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Abloh, whose style fused the hyper-organic and streetwear sensibilities of the Adidas Yeezy Boost with the shinyness of haute couture, died at New York-Presbyterian/Weill Cornell Medical Center on Monday, his friend Keyon Harrold told Reuters.
Louis Vuitton (@LouisVuitton) A message from the firm in connection with the passing of its artistic director Virgil Abloh: https://t.co/D6fsXJujV3 pic.twitter.com/xt7lDxY17C
Born and raised in The Bronx, New York, Abloh had been medical student at the Central College of Florida in 2011 when he gave up his studies to become a full-time creative director at Off-White.
The sound of Abloh’s music turned out to have the same effect on people. Off-White has been regarded as “the Kanye West of fashion”, a role model for other young designers.
The rapper Yeezy has similarly used collaboration with high-end labels such as Gucci, prompting critics to compare Abloh to Abloh to West, who recently also said he would be launching a beauty brand.
Abloh’s designs were loved for their simple, bold colour-blocking and accessories – usually leather, snakeskin and lace – and the production he used.
His bright colour palette and quotidian textures are in stark contrast to the hues and narrative richness of the Louis Vuitton brand.
Louis Vuitton creative director Virgil Abloh arrives for the Paris men’s ready-to-wear collection during the fashion week in October 2018. Photograph: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
The focus, and most successful launch, for Abloh’s first collection was for Louis Vuitton, where he announced last month that he would be taking over as artistic director.
The unveiling of his first creations for the house, a coat and polo shirt, have caused enthusiasm in fashion circles. It was immediately followed by debut designs from off-the-runway label Wanderlust, in collaboration with partners Coca-Cola and Victoria’s Secret.
Louis Vuitton (@LouisVuitton) Virgil Abloh has moved on.
Sad to announce the designer and artist, the Founder and Creative Director of OFF-WHITE, has passed away. RIP my brother. pic.twitter.com/YPlrgUa4rL
At the Louis Vuitton official website, a statement was posted reading: “The maison is shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the death of Virgil Abloh. An artist of immense energy, Virgil brought his energy to create.”
Vancouver-born Abloh studied in England at Central Saint Martins School of Art and Design. He subsequently completed a PhD at the London College of Fashion and became head of men’s wear design at Alexander McQueen.
His first collection for Off-White, in June 2014, was a resounding success. At the time, designer Virgil Abloh was a shoe designer, aspiring as an artist.
Since his arrival at Louis Vuitton, his designs have been worn by actors including Thandie Newton, Lupita Nyong’o and Bella Hadid, all of whom shared their condolences with fans on social media.
The very first creation for the brand, a clear-chested cotton blouse with a small white collar, paired with pale gray wide-leg trousers, together created a pop of colour in its spring/summer 2016 collection.
Rikard Landman (@ruckardlandman) Just received this from Louis Vuitton. pic.twitter.com/frwY6Icdna
“A collection he was proud of,” Abloh told CNN Style earlier this year. “There was a real fire and adrenaline driving him.”