Sad news this week, Fashion designer Virgil Abloh has died after suffering from cancer, it has been announced.
The 41-year-old, who was the creative director for Louis Vuitton and Off-White, had cardiac angiosarcoma, a rare, aggressive form of the disease, according to an announcement on his official Instagram page.
“We are devastated to announce the passing of our beloved Virgil Abloh,” it said. “He chose to endure his battle privately since his diagnosis in 2019, undergoing numerous challenging treatments, all while helming several significant institutions that span fashion, art, and culture”.
Abloh redefined the image of the modern fashion designer, adding DJ, artist and furniture designer to his creative CV. After training as an architect, he started designing clothes in 2012.
Collaborating with everyone from Nike to Ikea, Perrier and Mercedes-Benz, Abloh took fashion into arenas where it had not gone before, crossing over with other fields. The fashion purists were not amused he once said, “When I was showing in fashion week, people were saying, ‘That’s not fashion.’” In 2013 he founded his own label, Off-White, and was appointed head of menswear design at Louis Vuitton in 2018. He was the first black designer at Vuitton and the most visible black designer in fashion.
Abloh was also a hugely visible figure in rap, designing the album covers for Kanye West and Jay-Z’s joint album Watch the Throne, as well as Kayne’s ‘My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’ among others. He worked closely with West before becoming a fashion designer. In an interview, the rapper had said of Abloh: “I have all these ideas and Virgil is able to architect them because he is an actual architect.”
Gigi Hadid, Hailey Bieber and Justin Timberlake were among the stars paying tribute to the “once-in-a-generation creative mind”.
Supermodel Hadid shared a string of photos of them together and wrote: “I am heartbroken by the loss of my dear friend, and a friend to the world, Virgil Abloh. He was 1 of 1 … You will continue to inspire me every day, V. I feel blessed and honoured by every moment.”
Timberlake wrote: “What can you say when a force like Virgil Abloh is taken too soon?
You gave the world so much, in so little time. And created with intensity … knowing better than the rest of us that life is short, but anything is possible. I’m honoured to have known you. Thank you for sharing your gift with us.”
Hailey Bieber shared photos of herself with Abloh in the wedding dress he designed for her wedding to Justin Bieber. “He was someone who always brought life, charisma, love and fun to any situation, and every room he walked into. A once-in-a-generation creative mind that is so rare and I’ll never forget his impact. We love you, Virgil.”
British Vogue editor Edward Enninful called Abloh “a giant among men”.
He wrote: “Virgil Abloh changed the fashion industry. Famously prolific, he always worked for a greater cause than his own illustrious career: to open the door to art and fashion for future generations, so that they – unlike himself – would grow up in a creative world with people to mirror themselves in.”
Bernard Arnault, chief executive of LVMH, owner of both Off-White and Louis Vuitton, said “Virgil was not only a genius designer – a visionary – he was also a man with a beautiful soul and a great wisdom.”
He leaves behind wife Shannon and his children Lowe and Grey.