How we’ll remember Virgil Abloh
Following the news of the Off-White founder's passing, we share tributes to the genius who changed how we dress forever.
It’s news that has shocked the fashion world and beyond: Virgil Abloh, the trailblazing designer, has died at the age of 41 from a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Having come to prominence as Kanye West’s creative director, he launched his cult brand Off-White, and became the first African American to lead Louis Vuitton.
Bernard Arnault, chairman of LVMH, said in a statement: “Virgil was not only a genius designer, a visionary, he was also a man with a beautiful soul and great wisdom. The LVMH family joins me in this moment of great sorrow, and we are all thinking of his loved ones.”
Honouring the work of a ‘visionary’
Tributes for Virgil have poured in from across the world.
British Vogue editor, Edward Enninful, wrote on Instagram: “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.”
Fashion designer Donatella Versace also paid her respects on Instagram: "The world has lost a fashion superstar. An innovator."
Model and friend Bella Hadid also used the platform to share her grief at Virgil’s passing: “You broke boundaries and made everything your own. You shared your love infinitely. The way your brain worked was beyond anything , and the way you did every single thing in life for your family, friends, and for the better .. . We’re gonna miss you a lot.”
Rest in Power actor and rapper Riz Ahmed tweeted. “Gone too soon but your legacy lives on. Stretched culture & the changed the game. Thank you for all you did to support so many & how you pushed us to reimagine what’s possible.”
A multi-hyphenate creative whose legacy will live on
Known mostly for his work in fashion, Virgil was also an author, DJ and artist – and had degrees in civil engineering and architecture. His influence spread to other creative spheres and he famously worked on the album cover for Kanye West and Jay-Z’s joint record, Watch the Throne, as well as Kanye’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. He was also well known for his philanthropic work. One of his last acts was raising $1 million to support Black fashion students through his own Post Modern Scholarship Fund last year. He said: “I’ve always been passionate about giving the next generation of students the same foundation for success that was given to me.”
Virgil is survived by his wife and two children.